Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John Chaloner, 15 April 1786

From John Chaloner

Philada. April 15. 1786

Dear Sir

Since my last I have concluded the negotiation with Mr. John Wilcox and have reced from him his note payble in nine months for two hundred pounds being in full for ⅛ of the two Ships St. Anne & Two Brothers.1

Our Assembly has rejected the application of the Citizens to establish the Bank.2 The Stock holders therefore remain in that uncertain situation that you & Col Wadsworth apprehended prior to their last meeting in January; and are likely to continue in this State of Suspence for a considerable time.3 The April Court at which the Question was to have been determined, is now nearly over and no action brot nor any thing done in the matter by the Directors save that of retain’g Council by the Bank;4 Col Wadsworth when here apprehended (as does several Stockholders who were5 present at the meeting) that the Bank were6 to institute the suit, & employ Council on both sides to argue the matter, so that a speedy & amicable decision of the Question might be obtaind at the expence of the Institution: this I am told is not so understood by the Directors. They mean only to employ Council on behalf of the Bank—nor can I learn that the Question will be brot forward, unless by an adverse suit, wch. is not likely to be brot by any Person here. I am clearly of opinion their object is delay: hopeing that another election may produce an Assembly more favourable to their measures than the present. Knowing Mr Church’s Interest in this Institution I have thot proper to give you the above information and remain with Respect Sir Your most obd hble Servt

John Chaloner

Alexr Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2For information on the revocation of the charter of the Bank of North America, see H to Jeremiah Wadsworth, October 29, 1785. In March, 1786, a committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, headed by George Clymer, issued a report on several petitions asking for the restitution of the charter of the Bank of North America. The committee reported that the bank had been the victim of “precipitancy, prejudice and partiality,” and recommended that the charter of the Bank be restored. On April 1, 1786, after a four-day acrimonious debate between the supporters of the bank and its enemies, the report of the committee was rejected by a vote of twenty-eight to forty-one. See Janet Wilson, “The Bank of North America, 1781–1787,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, LXVI (January, 1942), 16–23.

4Wadsworth and other stockholders had asked for a “judicial determination of this Question—Whether the laws of Pensylvania still acknowlege the bank of North America as a corporate body?” See H et al., to Wadsworth, January 3, 1786.

5In MS, “where.”

6In MS, “where.”

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