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To Alexander Hamilton from Rufus King, 24 March 1791

From Rufus King1

[New York, March 24, 1791. “The Legislature of this State have incorporated the Bank,2 limiting its capital to a million of Dollars and its duration to twenty years.3 The Treasurer is authorised to subscribe to the Loan proposed to Congress all the Continental paper in the Treasury4 and by a bill that passed the Legislature this morning, he is directed to take in behalf of the State, one hundred and ninety shares in the National Bank.5 I have seen a letter from Mr. John Taylor6 of Albany which has created some uneasiness on account of our frontier settlements. He says ‘there is great reason to apprehend danger from the Indians in this quarter;’ but does not mention, nor have I been able to learn the grounds of this apprehension. You are sensible that almost every person here is interested in our Western Lands; their value depends upon the settlement of the frontiers, these settlements depend on Peace with the Indians, and indeed the bare possibility of a war with the six Nations, would break up our whole frontier. It is from this state of things that the war with the Wabash Indians is so much disrelished here. The Legislature have authorised the Governor to draw money from the Treasury and to take such measures as he may judge suitable to preserve the good will of the neighbouring Indians.7 I have said, and I presume it will be the case, that all prudent steps will be pursued to keep the six Nations quiet; that we were embarked and that it had become necessary to go forward with the War, if peace could be obtained by no other means; but I am more and more convinced that it behoves the government if practicable to finish this Indian business, in the course of the summer.” Letter not found.]

Extract from H to George Washington, March 27, 1791 (LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). A shorter extract, dated “about 1 Ap. 1791,” may be found in the New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1At this time King was a Federalist Senator from New York.

2The Bank of New York.

3See “An Act to incorporate the stockholders of the Bank of New York” (Laws of the State of New York, III description begins Laws of the State of New York Passed at the sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796, Inclusive, Being the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions (Albany, 1887). description ends , 237–41 [March 21, 1791]).

4“An Act for the relief of the creditors of this State” (Laws of the State of New York, III description begins Laws of the State of New York Passed at the sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796, Inclusive, Being the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions (Albany, 1887). description ends , 214–16 [February 23, 1791]). Gerard Bancker was treasurer of New York State.

5“An Act directing the treasurer of this State to subscribe to the bank of the United States” (Laws of the State of New York, III description begins Laws of the State of New York Passed at the sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796, Inclusive, Being the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions (Albany, 1887). description ends , 256 [March 24, 1791]).

6Tayler was an Albany merchant and land speculator.

7After the failure of the Harmar expedition against the western Indians in the fall of 1790, Indian attacks against the frontier settlements increased in intensity. The settlements in Ohio and Kentucky were not the only ones to suffer. In the spring of 1791 a group of white men attacked a party of Seneca at Big Beaver Creek in western Pennsylvania and killed three men and a woman (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Indian Affairs, I, 145). Several similar instances resulted in a series of raids on Pennsylvania settlements above Pittsburgh. Officials of New York became alarmed that the fighting might spread to their state, and on March 24, 1791, the New York legislature authorized Governor George Clinton to draw up to one thousand pounds to be applied “in such manner as he shall judge most expedient, to prevent any incursion of hostile Indians into this State” (Laws of the State of New York, III description begins Laws of the State of New York Passed at the sessions of the Legislature Held in the Years 1789, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, and 1796, Inclusive, Being the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Sessions (Albany, 1887). description ends , 252).

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