George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 9 May 1792

To Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia, 9 May 1792]

For carrying into execution the provisions of the Eleventh section of the Act intitled “An Act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of the United States,” I do hereby authorise you the said Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe by one or more subscriptions, on behalf and in the name of the United States, for such number of shares of and in the capital stock of the said Corporation as together shall amount to two Millions of Dollars, and the same to pay for out of any monies which shall have been or shall be borrowed by virtue of either of the Acts, the one intitled; “An Act making provision for the Debt of the United States,” and the other intitled, “An Act making provision for the reduction of the public Debt”: and I do further authorise you to borrow of the said Corporation for and on account of the United States an equal sum, namely, Two Millions of Dollars to be applied to the purposes for which the said monies shall have been procured, and to be reimbursable in Ten years by equal annual installments, or at any time sooner or in any greater proportions that the Government may think fit.1 Provided that the interest on the said sum so by you to be borrowed, shall not exceed the rate of six per centum per annum, hereby empowering you to enter into and conclude with the said Corporation such contracts and Agreements as shall be necessary for fulfilling the purposes aforesaid, and promising to ratify whatever you shall lawfully do in the premises.2

In testimony whereof I have hereunto subscribed my hand at the City of Philadelphia the Ninth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two.

G: Washington


1GW’s letter to Hamilton to this point is essentially a recapitulation of section 11 of “An Act to incorporate . . .” of 25 Feb. 1791 (see Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 1st Cong., 3d sess., 2381).

2On 11 June, Hamilton sent a draft of an agreement to the president of the Bank of the United States, Thomas Willing, for submission to the board of directors (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 11:511–12). On 23 June, Hamilton submitted to GW in writing “the Draft of an Agreement concerning the subscription on behalf of the U. States to the Bank, agreeably to terms concerted with the Directors, in order that it may be considered by the President previous to it’s execution. The Secretary will wait upon the President for his Orders on Monday morning” (DLC:GW). Having received GW’s approval, Hamilton and Willing on Monday, 25 June, signed a formal agreement outlining the obligations of the respective parties. This document is printed in full in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 11:560–63.

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