Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to William Duer, [20 April 1791]

To William Duer

[Philadelphia, April 20, 1791]

Dear Sir

I send you herewith a plan for a manufacturing Society1 in conformity to the Ideas we have several times conversed about. It has occurred to me that Mr. Cazenove2 might be willing to adventure in the project. The good sense and discernment, which he possesses, assure me that he will readily appreciate whatever of good there may be in the plan, and there has appeared to me in him a disposition very liberal and very favourable to whatever tends to advance the prosperity of the country. Besides the merit to which he is intitled on this score as an evidence of the beneficence of his temper, he Seems to have adopted the solid position that those things which tend to promote the developpement and amelioration of the means of this country tend also to render his speculations on its affairs more beneficial and to enlarge the sphere for future operations. He will not improbably regard the projected undertaking in this light and could he be induced to engage in it, it would have an encouraging effect.

I flatter myself that the subscription for the first 100,000, will rapidly fill. When completed, I will lose no time in taking measures in cooperation with the Attornies named in the instrument to obtain the desired sanction of the State of Jersey. The more I have considered the thing, the more I feel persuaded that it will equally promote the Interest of the adventurers & of the public and will have an excellent effect on the Debt.

With sincere regard   I remain Dr Sir   Your obdt. Servt.

A. Hamilton.

to Wm. Duer Esqr.

Copy, Nederlandsch Economisch-Historisch Archief, Amsterdam.

1This is, of course, a reference to what eventually became the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures. Although this document has not been found, it may have been “A plan for a manufacturing establishment in the United States,” which was enclosed in Tench Coxe to Thomas Jefferson, April 15, 1791. Both this document and the enclosing letter are in the Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress.

2Théophile Cazenove, an Amsterdam entrepreneur, came to America in early 1790 as purchasing agent and correspondent for four large financial houses, Pieter Stadnitzki, Nicholaas and Jacob Van Staphorst, P. and C. Van Eeghen, and Ten Cate and Vollenhoven. When the Holland Land Company was formed in 1796, he became its agent in America. After his arrival in the United States Cazenove purchased considerable amounts of Federal and state debts, bought substantial shares in the Bank of the United States, and invested in a number of canal company promotions. H’s objective was to obtain Dutch capital for the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, and Duer wrote to Cazenove, sending him both the plan and H’s letter. In concluding his letter, Duer wrote:

“If on Mature Consideration you Should determine to patronise our Infant Establishment, it will give Me great pleasure, to Signify your Intention to the Secretary. I have Embarked in it Myself, and will cooperate with you in all Measures which you Shall judge Adviseable for promoting the Interest of the Establishment.” (Duer to Cazenove, April 30, 1791, Nederlandsch Economisch-Historisch Archief, Amsterdam.)

Cazenove persuaded his employers to subscribe twenty-five thousand dollars to the enterprise.

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