Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Gouverneur Morris, 28 June 1791

From Gouverneur Morris1

London 28 June 1791.

My dear Sir

I have lately been compelled to take some of your three per Cent Stocks in order to cover Part of a large Debt very disagreably circumstanced and to replace a Portion of heavy Advances have sold it again and am bound in heavy Penalties to have the Transfer immediately made. This Stock consists of the Arrearage of Interest to the last Day of the last Year on $382.878..60 Cts of liquidated Debt standing in the Treasury Books at the Credit of Messrs. Francis Baring, Edmund Boehm and Thomas Henchman of this City; which Arrearage amounts to $68918 .. 15 Cts. I have some Reason to believe that Difficulties have arisen in the Treasury Offices upon this Subject heretofore and that they have objected to seperating the three perCents from the omnium unless the whole were subscribed to the new Loan. But this which is a Kind of compulsory Proceeding will have a very bad Effect on our Credit which is still exposed to many Attacks every one of which is more or less injurious. But as to these Things in general I will not pretend to judge leaving them entirely to you and applying only to my own particular Affair which will prove exceedingly injurious should I be disappointed in the Hope that this Transfer may immediately take Place. The Attorney appointed to transact the Business is Mr. George Fox of Philadelphia and I have requested my friend Mr Morris2 who will deliver you this Letter to attend to it.

LC, Gouverneur Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

1The transaction described in this letter apparently involved Morris’s association with Daniel Parker in an attempt to purchase into the United States domestic debt. E. James Ferguson has described this enterprise as follows:

“In 1789 Parker’s negotiations involved Gouverneur Morris. Morris had gone abroad early that year to restore the badly deteriorated affairs of his friend Robert Morris.… He soon became engrossed in securities speculation and in efforts to refinance the American debt to France. Upon his arrival, he met Parker.… He and Parker talked of organizing an international syndicate which would combine all European investors in a single company and purchase virtually the entire domestic debt of the United States.… Morris [went] to London where he gained the ear of several English capitalists, including the Barings, who had already begun to invest in American securities. Morris, in company with Parker and an English merchant, Samuel Rogers, agreed with Francis Baring, Edmund Boehm, and Thomas Hinchman to deliver $600,000 in securities before the end of the year.” (Power of the Purse description begins E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse (Chapel Hill, 1961). description ends , 264–65.)

2Presumably Robert Morris. The firm of Willing, Morris, and Swanwick, of which Robert Morris was a member, was also involved in the transfer of securities. See George Fox to H, September 14, 1791.

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