I. Resolutions on the Secretary of the Treasury
[before 27 Feb. 1793]
- 1. Resolved, That it is essential to the due administration of the Government of the United States, that laws making specific appropriations of money should be strictly observed by the Secretary of the Treasury thereof.
- 2. Resolved, That a violation of a law making appropriations of money is a violation of that section of the Constitution of the United States which requires that no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.
- 3. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury, in drawing to this country and lodging in the bank the funds raised in Europe, which ought to have been applied to the paiments of our debts there in order to stop interest, has violated the instructions of the President of the United States for the benefit of speculators and to increase the profits of that institution.
- 4. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury has deviated from the instructions given by the President of the United States, in exceeding the authorities for making loans under the acts of the 4th and 12th of August, 1790.
- 5. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury has omitted to discharge an essential duty of his office, in failing to give Congress official information in due time, of the moneys drawn by him from Europe into the United States; which drawing commenced December, 1790, and continued till January, 1793; and of the causes of making such drafts.
- 6. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury has, without the instruction of the President of the United States, drawn more moneys borrowed in Holland into the United States than the President of the United States was authorized to draw, under the act of the 12th of August, 1790; which act appropriated two millions of dollars only, when borrowed, to the purchase of the Public Debt: And that he has omitted to discharge an essential duty of his office, in failing to give official information to the Commissioners for purchasing the Public Debt, of the various sums drawn from time to time, suggested by him to have been intended for the purchase of the Public Debt.
- 7. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury did not consult the public interest in negotiating a Loan with the Bank of the United States, and drawing therefrom four hundred thousand dollars, at five per cent. per annum, when a greater sum of public money was deposited in various banks at the respective periods of making the respective drafts.
- 8. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury has been guilty of an indecorum to this House, in undertaking to judge of its motives in calling for information which was demandable of him, from the constitution of his office; and in failing to give all the necessary information within his knowledge, relatively to the subjects of the reference made to him of the 19th January, 1792, and of the 22d November, 1792, during the present session.
- 9. Resolved, That at the next meeting of Congress, the act of Sep 2d, 1789, establishing a Department of Treasury should be so amended as to constitute the office of the Treasurer of the United States a separate department, independent of the Secretary of the Treasury.
- 10. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury has been guilty of maladministration in the duties of his office, and should, in the opinion of Congress, be removed from his office by the President of the United States.
MS not found; reprinted from Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letterpress Edition, New York, 1892–99, 10 vols. description ends vi, 168–71, where it is described as “From the original courteously loaned me by Miss S. N. Randolph,” captioned by the editor as “Jefferson’s Draft,” and assigned the conjectural date of “[February? 1793].” Elsewhere Ford described this text more specifically as a “rough draft of the resolutions, in the handwriting of Thomas Jefferson,” and printed resolutions 1, 3, 9–10 with their numbers in parentheses, the word Resolved in roman, and minor differences in punctuation (Paul L. Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letterpress Edition, New York, 1892–99, 10 vols. description ends “The Authorship of Giles’s Resolutions,” The Nation, lxi , 164).
These resolutions were based in large measure on information provided by Alexander Hamilton himself in three of the four reports he submitted to the House of Representatives in February 1793 in defense of his administration of the Department of the Treasury. Thus, the fourth through the sixth resolutions were founded primarily on the basis of Hamilton’s own defense of his handling of foreign loans in the second of his two 13 Feb. 1793 reports to the House on this subject (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiv, 26–67). The information recited in the seventh resolution was drawn from Hamilton’s 19 Feb. 1793 report on his relations with the Bank of the United States, submitted to the House one day later (same, 94–7, 109–10). Finally, the indecorum to which the eighth resolution referred was the impugning, in Hamilton’s 4 Feb. 1793 report to the House on his handling of public revenues, of Congressman William B. Giles’s motives in offering to the House on 23 Jan. 1793 the resolves on the conduct of the Treasury that elicited the three reports from the Secretary of the Treasury, as well as another one of 13 Feb. 1793 on the subject of foreign loans (same, xiii, 542, 553, xiv, 17–26). The third resolution could have been based on either Hamilton’s 3 Jan. 1793 report to the House on foreign loans or the one of 13 Feb. 1793 first mentioned above (same, xiii, 451–62; Notes on Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Foreign Loans, printed under 4 Jan. 1793).
For a discussion of the 28 Aug. 1790 instructions of the president referred to in the third resolution, which concerned the negotiation of foreign loans under the acts of Congress of 4 and 12 Aug. 1790, and the charge in the fourth resolution that Hamilton deviated from them, see Notes on Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Foreign Loans, [ca. 20 Feb. 1793]. Concerning the functions of the commissioners for purchasing the public debt (of whom TJ was one) mentioned in the sixth resolution, see Report of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, [17 Nov. 1792], and note. For Hamilton’s accounting to the House of his handling of the loans contracted for the redemption of the domestic debt, see Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiv, 30–2, 52–3, 60–3, 100–3.
The subjects of the reference in the eighth resolution concerned two requests by the House to Hamilton, the first that he supply it with such information about public finances as it would require to determine whether additional revenues were needed to fund a proposed increase in the army, and the second that he submit to it a plan for repaying the government’s debt to the Bank of the United States (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 493, 625; for Hamilton’s responses, see Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , x, 531–6, xiii, 271). Hamilton’s failure to inform the House in either case of the money he had drawn to the United States from European loans contracted to pay the foreign and redeem the domestic debt was evidently the basis for the charge in this resolution that he had not provided the House with all necessary information within his knowledge.
Since the treasurer of the united states was already responsible for the keeping and disbursement of public revenues, the proposal in the ninth resolution to make this office a separate department of government independent of the Secretary of the Treasury was obviously designed to prevent what TJ and other Republicans perceived to be misapplications of public funds by Hamilton or his successors (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Finance, i, 285). TJ had apparently favored this reform as early as the summer of 1792 (Note of Agenda to Reduce the Government to True Principles, [ca. 11 July 1792]).