Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John Nicholson, 19 April 1791

From John Nicholson

Comptroler Generals Office [Philadelphia] April 19th 1791


Altho many of the Certificates the property of the State of Pennsylvania were not yet assigned thereto for which you have directed such provisions to be made as fully secures her interest therein, Yet there are also Certificates that appear to the Credit of the same State on the Treasury Books which individuals are intitled to on their delivering up the New Loan Certificates of Pennsylvania in their possession.1 This business hath been done by my Power of Attorney to transfer to the Individual so much of this Registered Debt as they are severally intitled to and went on with great satisfaction to the Individuals, but since the late quarters Interest hath been payable on their species of Debt a difficulty arises, and I find that such as have since been transfered, will when they come to fund their paper notwithstanding the appearance of the Registered Certificate and commencement of Interest expressed thereon is the same as expressed in the former leaves One quarters Interest behind which remains to the Credit of and is receivable by the State of Pennsylvania, altho the whole Interest is in part their property. To Obviate this inconvenience if it can be Obviated is the design of my present application. From this information you will see our situation and alone can direct relief in the premises. The State of Pennsylvania have by a law thereof determined to fund their paper2 according to the terms prescribed by Act of Congress, of August 1790.3 It would therefore be to us the most agreeable to receive no Interest upon any of the Registered Debt in the shape it now is, and untill funded. If therefore all that appears to the Credit of the State were added to those contained in the List made to the Register and to the bank4 and which are already excepted from the Quarters payment now making, it would at once remove the difficulty. The next practicable mode appears to me to be to frame my power of Attorney to transfer so as to include a power to receive also said Quarterly payment of Interest. However as I observed before, you are best Able to devise the method in which it should be done and I have great confidence that you will order it in such way as will accomodate the State and the individuals.5

I have the honor to be   with high respect.   Sir your most Obt. Very Hbl   Servant

J. N.

The Honorable Alexe Hamilton Esqr.
Secrety Treasury U States

Copy, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg; copy, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Collection.

2“An Act Authorizing and Directing the State Treasurer to Subscribe, in the Name of the Commonwealth, to the Loan Proposed by the United States, and for Other Purposes Therein Mentioned” (Pennsylvania Statutes description begins James T. Mitchell and Henry Flanders, eds., The Statutes at Large of Pennsylvania from 1682 to 1801 (Harrisburg, 1896–1908). description ends , XIV, 39–41 [March 30, 1791]).

3“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 [August 4, 1790]).

4Nicholson is referring to the Bank of North America.

5On May 13, 1791, Governor Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania wrote to Nicholson concerning the plan which H and Nicholson had agreed upon. Mifflin approved the plan, but warned Nicholson that in the future communications between the Federal and state governments should take place only through the governor (LS, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg). On May 19, 1791, Mifflin advised Christian Febiger, treasurer of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that he should pay to Nicholson, out of interest received from the United States on the registered debt, seven hundred dollars for the payment of interest to holders of “new loan” certificates registered at the Treasury (LC, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg).

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