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To Alexander Hamilton from Tench Coxe, 9 July 1790

From Tench Coxe1

Philada. July 9th. 1790

Dear Sir

I find by several letters from New York that the bill relative to the residence has hitherto stood its ground, which affords a further hope that this agitating business will be settled by the present Attempt. It has really become necessary for the Government has been exceedingly depreciated by it even here. Many who consider it as a great Object, still think it not worth the expence of time, money & character which it is like to cost.

The public creditors are to have a meeting this Evening—but it is not much liked by some of the most judicious of them. It is suspected to have our elections, as much as public credit for its object. I do not think however that it will do any harm. The Assumption, if mentioned, then will be supported I think by a considerable strength. Tis probable it will be spoken of in the course of what will fall from the Speakers. You may be satisfied that the Assumption has gained ground very considerably in this city, and that it will not lose the supporters it now has, who believe it the sine qua non of a satisfactory funding System. The hope of making better terms by a concert with the friends of Assumption has made a pretty strong impression on the minds of several influential men to whom I have suggested it, tho they think it will not be easy to make some of the strong opponents admit the Idea.

I direct this letter to be sent down to you immediately as the information on this last point will be satisfactory & may be wanted.

I am with my very respectful compliments to Mrs. Hamilton, dear Sir,   yr. affectionate & obed. Servant

Tench Coxe

I expect to make my Absence ten days from my time of departure as at first proposed.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The residence and assumption measures, which are discussed in this letter, were parts of one of the most famous bargains in American political history. The proposal for the Federal Government’s assumption of state debts (which was part of H’s larger funding scheme) was defeated by the House of Representatives on April 12, 1790, by a vote of 31 to 29 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , II, 1577). Then, in the latter part of June, H agreed to seek to convert northern Congressmen to the plan to have the national capital on the Potomac rather than at Philadelphia, while Madison and Jefferson agreed to use their influence to obtain the support of southern Congressmen for assumption. On July 1, the Senate by a vote of 14 to 12 passed an act for establishing the national capital on the Potomac with Philadelphia serving as the temporary capital (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , I, 1040). On July 9, this bill passed the House by a vote of 32 to 29 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , II, 1737), and became law on July 16 (“An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States,” 1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 130 [July 16, 1790]). On July 21, the Senate voted 14 to 12 in favor of the funding bill with the assumption amendment (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , I, 1054–55). On July 24, the House defeated a motion to “disagree to the proposition for the assumption of the State debts” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , II, 1753), and on July 26, the House approved the assumption plan by a vote of 34 to 28 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834). description ends , II, 1755). The funding measure, of which assumption was a part, became law on August 4. See “An Act making provision for the (payment of the) Debt of the United States,” 1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 138–44.

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