Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Edmund Randolph, 3 April 1793

From Edmund Randolph1

Philadelphia April 3. 1793.

Dear Sir

I am extremely thankful to you for your readiness to accommodate me on the subject of the bills; but find, that the negotiation of the gentleman, to whom you alluded, was not for me. I must therefore make an arrangement for myself.

The sum, which I want to sell, is much less than £2600 stg. It is only 1300 £; as I prefer waiting for a rise. For the money to be raised on this latter sum I Am bound for tomorrow. This caused me to apply to that gentleman for bills to that amount; but he replied, that he is assured, the exchange will rise before the 18th. of this month, and holds it to be his duty in consequence of the trust, reposed in him to hold up until that time. Now, my dear sir; as you do not mean to send the bill off immediately, I will give you my own bill, indorsed by an able merchant here, (which would be paid if necessary) but to lie with you ’till the 18th. to be then redeemed by Mr. Ross’s. Did I not suppose, that this would answer your object, I would not propose it; nor indeed would I ask the favour, but for the painful and unexpected dilemma into which I am thrown; and a belief, that I have not overated the degree of friendship, which I have experienced from you.

I am dear sir   Yr. friend & serv.

Edm: Randolph

Colo. Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1This letter presumably concerns a negotiation of foreign bills of exchange for a private payment which Randolph wished to make abroad. A series of entries in Robert Morris’s account books indicate a part of Randolph’s stock transactions as well as his financial relations with William Bell, a Philadelphia merchant. On April 1, 1793, Morris had agreed to pay twenty thousand dollars to Bell on behalf of Randolph. Morris’s notes in favor of Bell paid fifteen thousand of the twenty thousand dollars. Morris also obtained Bell’s signature on Randolph’s note of April 1, 1793, payable at sixty and ninety days sight for approximately three thousand dollars. In addition Morris engaged to pay Antoine Hubert $2,625 on April 1, 1794, for seven thousand dollars worth of six percent funded stock which Randolph deposited with Hubert. Morris himself purchased an additional $2,660 of Randolph’s six percent stock (D, partly in the handwriting of Robert Morris, Wastebook, 1792–1796, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia).

Randolph was undoubtedly injured by the financial panic in London during the spring of 1793. On August 21, 1793, he attached the stock standing on the books of the Treasury of John Warder, a partner of a London brokerage house (copy, RG 217, Oliver Wolcott’s “Explanation of Accounts, 1792–1794,” Comptroller of the Treasury, National Archives). Randolph’s involved financial affairs are suggested by his appeal on August 5, 1793, to Thomas Jefferson for an endorsement on a note (Jefferson to Randolph, August 5, 1793 [ALS, letterpress copy, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress]). Jefferson declined, and the following day he described Randolph’s difficulties to George Washington: “The embarassments in his private affairs had obliged him to use expedts. which had injured him with the merchts. & shop-keepers & affected his character of independence: that these embarassments were serious, & not likely to cease soon” (AD, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress).

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