Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Adams, [20 March 1792]

To John Adams

[Philadelphia, March 20, 1792]

Mr. Hamilton presents his respectful Compliments to the Vice President. He may have heared that the Treasurer was in the Market last night1 and may be at a loss concerning his authority. The ground of the operation is an Act of the Board of the 15th of August last appropriating a sum between three & four hundred Thousand Dollars, which Mr. Hamilton considers as any sum short of 400.000 Dollars;2 leaving still a sum to be expended within the terms as to price prescribed by that Act. This is merely by way of information.

AL, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

1Samuel Meredith, treasurer of the United States, was purchasing Government securities for the Government. The object of these purchases was to maintain or restore the price of Government securities in the face of the panic precipitated by William Duer’s failure. See Duer to H, March 12, 1792; H to Duer, March 14, 1792; H to William Seton, March 19, 1792; Robert Troup to H, March 19, 1792.

According to Meredith’s statement of March 31, 1792, between March 21 and March 27, 1792, he purchased deferred stock in the amount of $16,118.74 of assumed state debt and $17,236.89 of domestic debt; during the same period he purchased three percent stock in the amount of $1,165.28 of assumed debt and $12,316.56 of domestic debt. The total specie expended from the sinking fund amounted to $28,915.52 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Finance, I, 163).

2The resolution of August 15, 1791, authorized the purchase of Government stock by Seton at New York and by Meredith at Philadelphia of an amount ranging “between three and four hundred thousand dollars.” See “Meeting of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund,” August 15, 1791.

3H misdated this letter, for this should read “92.”

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