Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John B. Church, 7 February 1784

From John B. Church1

Paris Feby. 7th 1784

I received a few Days since my Dear Sir your Favor of the 12th Decemr.2 I observed your Account of the Project of the Bank, I fear by Letters I have Received from Chaloner that the Plan will be carried into Execution before this Reaches you,3 if it is and the Shares are not all taken up pray buy for me Two hundred and fifty Shares. I shall direct Chaloner to draw on me to supply you with the money; if the Plan is not decided on before you receive this, I am clear for the Augmentation4 propos’d and beg you immediately on its being determined to buy for me the 250 shares above-mentioned. It will be necessary to keep your Intentions a secret, as I have no doubt but there are some People who hope by this Increase to buy largely and prevent us from a preponderance in the Bank which is to us a very capital Object;5 and if we want Funds for a Bank that we may establish in New York the Bank Shares will be always saleable. I should be sorry if Mr. Sayre should effect his Establishment before we are able to Return and carry our Plan into Execution, but I shall be astonish’d if Men of Property are weak and credulous enough to give him their Confidence.6 We are taken measures to vest our Property in America by exporting from here and England a large Quantity of ready money Articles and I hope that we shall be at New York in June or July.7

I have heard nothing from Genl Schuyler nor do you say a Word about him or the Family & I wish to know whether he has made the Purchases I requested him to make for me.

The Power respecting the Bank Stock gives you a Right to sell and transfer, so that if there is any Difficulty about voting you can transfer the Shares into your own Name which will obviate every Difficulty.

I hope by this Time order and good Government prevail in the State and that Lenity and moderation have taken Place of Violence and Resentment. I shall be glad if Moses can carry his Vindue Scheme into Execution as I think it will prove a very beneficial one.8

Angelica joins me in Love to Mrs. Hamilton and yourself she is very well the little maid9 is fat and handsome. Phil10 is in Pension he jabbers now more French than English. The inclement Weather prevents our leaving Paris but I think we shall set out in 10 or 12 Days, they have experienc’d here the severest Winter that has been felt for many Years. Adieu My Dear Sir. I am very sincerely and affectionately    Your Friend & Servant

J B Church

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1John B. Church (John Carter) and Jeremiah Wadsworth had gone to France in July, 1783, to settle accounts owed them by the French government. During the American Revolution they had furnished supplies for the French forces in America.

2Letter not found.

3Church is referring to the proposed plan for increasing the stock of the Bank of North America by the sale of additional shares of stock. See John Chaloner to H, January 21, 1784.

4Church presumably authorized H to cast the votes to which his ownership of stock entitled him.

5Church and Wadsworth had a “preponderance in the Bank,” for Wadsworth was the largest stockholder and Church the second largest.

6The “Mr. Sayre” to whom Church is referring was probably Stephen Sayre, a London banker. Sayre was connected with a group of New Yorkers who late in 1783 made plans for establishing a bank in New York. On February 12, 1784, proposals were published for a bank to be known as the “Bank of the State of New York.” The amount of capital was to be $750,000 consisting of 750 shares at $1,000 a share. One-third of the subscription was to be paid in cash, and the remaining two-thirds was to consist of landed security, given by mortgage or conveyed in trust. Subscription books were opened at 6 Wall Street by Stephen Sayre and John Stephens. It was for this bank that Robert R. Livingston applied on February 17, 1784, to the New York Assembly for an act of incorporation. See H to Church, March 10, 1784.

7For an account of the business activities of Church and Wadsworth while in Europe, see John D. R. Platt, “Jeremiah Wadsworth: Federalist Entrepreneur” (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 1955), 47–68.

8Because of the illegibility of the MS, the meaning of this sentence cannot be determined. The man to whom Church is referring could be either “Moses” (possibly Isaac Moses, a New York merchant) or “Moris” (perhaps Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance).

9Catherine Church.

10Philip Church.

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