George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 29 July 1791

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department [Philadelphia] July 29th 1791.

The Secretary of the Treasury having had the honor to lay before the President of the United States, the correspondence of Mr Short respecting the loans made, & to be made, pursuant to the several Acts of Congress for that purpose; begs leave to note particularly for his consideration two circumstances which appear in that correspondence.1

First, that there are moments when large sums may be borrowed in Holland with more facility & advantage than small sums at other times.

Secondly, that there is some prospect of opening loans with success in other Countries than the United Netherlands.

These circumstances appearing, the Secretary respectfully requests the consideration & instruction of the President of the United States; whether it may not be expedient to remove the present restrictions upon Mr Short, so as to enable him to embrace favourable moments, and open at his discretion, loans at such times & places and for such sums, as he may find adviseable, within the limitations of the respective laws authorising the Loans.2 which is respectfully submitted by

Alexander Hamilton
Secy of the Treasury.


For background to this letter, see Alexander Hamilton to GW, 26 Aug. (second letter), 3 Sept. 1790, and 10 and 14 April 1791, GW to Hamilton, 28 Aug. 1790 and note 1, and 7 May 1791, GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 8 Dec. 1790, Jefferson to GW, 17 April, 1 May 1791, and GW to Jefferson, 17 June 1791. For William Short’s original instructions to negotiate American loans in Holland, see Hamilton to Short, 1 Sept. 1790, Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:6–14.

1Tobias Lear returned the enclosed correspondence to Hamilton this day (DLC:GW).

2Lear also probably transmitted to Hamilton this day GW’s approval of Hamilton’s proposal: “Upon a full consideration of the reasons offered by Mr Short, in his correspondence with you, for removing the restrictions laid upon him by his present instructions, so far as relates to his not opening a loan for more than a certain sum—and not being allowed to open a new Loan until the terms of the preceding one shall have been ratified here—I have thought it expedient & for the interest of the United States that those restrictions should be removed—And I do hereby authorise you to inform Mr Short that he may open at his discretion loans for the United States, at such times & places, & for such sums as he may find adviseable within the limitations of the respective Laws authorising these Loans” (LB, DLC:GW). Hamilton provided Short new instructions on 1–2 Aug. (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 9:1–4).

Index Entries