Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Alexander Hamilton, 29 June 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department June 29th 1792


In consequence of the letter, which you sent me from Mr. Short, I find it will be convenient to draw on the Commissioners in Holland for the sum which is required pursuant to the third Section of the Act intitled “An Act making certain appropriations therein specified.” I therefore propose the following arrangement that the Treasurer draw bills, in your favour, for a sum in guilders equal to fifty thousand dollars; that you give him an acknowlegement for these bills, as a purchase for the use of your department; promising to pay the amount when you shall be furnished with money for that purpose from the Treasury, pursuant to the abovementioned Act.

This will, consistently with the course of the Treasury, put you in possession of the requisite sum, for the next packet and will avoid the necessity of a loan ‘till the occasion for an application of the amount of the bills here shall occur, according to the destination of that fund.

This arrangement being merely with a view to Treasury-convenience and œconomy will not I presume appear liable to any objection. Should it not, it shall be immediately carried into effect. I have the honor to be, very respectfully Sir Your most Obedient Servt

Alexander Hamilton

RC (DLC: James Madison Papers); at foot of text: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received 29 June 1792 and so recorded in SJL.

William Short’s 22 Apr. 1792 letter to Hamilton notified the Secretary of the Treasury that it was safe to make drafts on the American bankers in Amsterdam against a recent Dutch loan to the United States (Syrett, Hamilton, description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends xi, 326–8). Hamilton’s reply to Short the following day suggests that the Secretary of State had accepted the arrangement proposed above (same, 609). The act cited by Hamilton, passed by Congress on 8 May 1792, was designed to finance John Paul Jones’s projected mission to Algiers (see TJ to Washington, 30 May 1792, and note). The presence of Hamilton’s letter in Madison’s papers may suggest that TJ regarded it as an example of the Treasury Secretary’s unaccountable currency manipulations and that he supplied the Virginia congressman with it to bolster the 1793 Republican effort in the House of Representatives to prove that Hamilton had mishandled public funds (Malone, Jefferson, description begins Dumas Malone, Jefferson and his Time, Boston, 1948–81, 6 vols. description ends iii, 14–36, esp. 17).

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