Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Joseph Nourse, 9 October 1792

From Joseph Nourse

Treasury Dept. Registers Office
9 Octr: 1792.


I have the Honor to enclose certifyd Copies from the Treasury Books of an Acct. depending betwixt His Mo: Catholic Majesty and the United States, for Monies recd. on Loan. I cannot find that this Loan has been recognized on the Journals of Congress in a like Manner with the french and Dutch Loans. It is founded on a settlemt made by the late Comr. for settling the foreign Accts. entitled Loans from the Court of Spain.1 This money was paid to the Hon: James Gardoqui2 and has been regularly accounted for by him, having been expended in the purchasing of Cloathing and in the payt. of Bills of Exn. drawn by order of Congress. The principal

sum recd. was Drs. 174.011   
To which add Interest thereon to the 31 Dec: 1792  99.007:89
Total Amt. of Principal & Int. as ⅌ Statement3 273.018.89

Altho’ there is no Recognition of this Debt on the Journals of Congress, by a Copy of the Original Contract or otherwise, yet in all the Estimates made by the late Government the annual Appropriations have been made for the payment of its Int. and in the various Reports from Committees of Congress it has been noticed as an Existing Claim due from the united states.

There is an Acct. opened in the Treasury Books under the Title of Don Carlos Dildephonso Rico Hombre D’Espagne a Copy of which I in-close.4 This I have understood from Mr. Lee5 is to be viewed as a Gratuity and not as a Loan.

I have the Honor to be sir with Real Respect   Your mo: ob: & Mo: hb: Serv.

J. N.

LC, Register of the Treasury, Estimates and Statements for 1792, Vol. “134-T,” National Archives; LC, RG 39, Letter Book, 1789–1795, National Archives.

1The statement of the Spanish loan appears on Folio 198 of the first of two ledger volumes which Thomas Barclay used in his settlement of the European accounts of the Continental Congress (D, RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, National Archives).

2In accounting for these subsidies Don Diego de Gardoqui, who was a minor official in the Spanish Ministry of Finance, signed himself James Gardoqui, and the accounts of the purchases made for the United States which he transmitted to Arthur Lee are headed James Gardoqui and Company, Bilboa. Subsequent United States purchases were made through the firm of Joseph Gardoqui and Company, which had been established at Bilboa before the American Revolution by Don Diego’s father.

James Gardoqui’s account may be found on Folio 195 of Thomas Barclay’s ledgers (D, RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, National Archives).

3See enclosure.

4“Don Carlos Dildephonso Rico Hombre D’Espagne” was an alias used by the Spanish government in placing credit in Amsterdam at the disposal of the American agents at Paris. Fearful of a British declaration of war against Spain, the Spanish authorities also drew the bills in favor of Arthur Lee rather than directly in favor of the United States. The money, contributed in two equal installments commencing in May, 1777, was used to purchase supplies in Spain for the American Army (Lee’s account, ADS, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives). The “Don Carlos” account debited with Lee’s expenditures may be found in RG 217, “Ledger B, 1776–1789, Register’s Office,” National Archives.

5Lee’s reports to the Continental Congress concerning the subsidy he obtained from Spain may be found in the Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

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