Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to William Short, 21 March 1792

To William Short

Treasury Department March 21st. 1792


As the discharge of the arrears of interest and instalments of principal of the French debt, which are due, may have occasioned your power to borrow for that object to be suspended, until you can obtain a loan at a rate of interest and Charges sufficiently reduced, it is my wish, that as soon as it shall be proper after the receipt of this letter you would proceed to borrow the sum of three Millions of florins on the terms of the Antwerp loan,1 to be applied to the purposes mentioned in the Act of the 12th August 1790 for the reduction of the public debt.2

I shall wish for the earliest advices upon this subject to enable me to direct the draughts, and I request your particular attention so to manage the operation, that no loss of interest, which can be avoided may take place.

I have the honor to be   with great consideration & esteem   Your most obedt Servant

Alexander Hamilton

Wm Short Esqr
Minister Resident
at the Hague

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LS, marked "Duplicate," Widener Library, Harvard University

1For a description of this loan, see Short to H, November 8, 1791, note 4, and November 12, 1791.

2Section 4 of “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt” reads as follows: “And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized to cause to be borrowed, on behalf of the United States, a sum or sums not exceeding in the whole two millions of dollars, at an interest not exceeding five per cent., and that the sum or sums so borrowed, be also applied to the purchase of the said debt of the United States, under the like direction, in the like manner, and subject to the like regulations and restrictions with the surplus aforesaid: Provided, That out of the interest arising on the debt to be purchased in manner aforesaid, there shall be appropriated and applied to a sum not exceeding the rate of eight per centum per annum on account both of principal and interest towards the repayment of the two millions of dollars so to be borrowed” (1 Stat. 187 [August 12, 1790]).

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