[Philadelphia, 5 November 1792]
To all whom it may concern—Greeting
Whereas the Legislature of the United States of America, by their Acts passed on the fourth and twelfth days of August one thousand seven hundred and ninety, authorized the President of the United States to borrow on their behalf certain sums of money therein named, or any lesser sums, for the purposes therein stated, and to make Contracts respecting the foreign debt of the United States,1 and the President thereupon gave to Alexander Hamilton Esquire, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, full powers by himself, or any person appointed by him, to carry the purposes of the said Acts into execution, and the said Alexander Hamilton in pursuance of the said powers having authorized William Short Esquire Minister Resident of the United States of America at the Hague in that behalf,2 the said William Short hath accordingly entered into Contract with certain persons therein named for the loan of three millions of Guilders, Dutch Current money, which Contract was executed at Amsterdam in the United Netherlands on the nineth day of August in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety two, and is in the words following, to wit,
(Here insert it)3
Now know ye, that the President of the United States of America having seen and considered the said Contract, hath ratified and confirmed, and by these presents doth ratify and confirm the same and every article thereof.
In Testimony whereof he has caused the seal of the United States to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with his hand. Done at the City of Philadelphia the fifth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the Seventeenth.
Go. Washington.By the President
Copy, DNA: RG 59, State Department, Letters, Accounts, and Contracts Relating to European Loans, 1791–1805.
The notation “Recorded in Compts. Office from pg 136 a 140 Henry Kuhl,” chief clerk of the comptroller’s office in 1792, later was added to this document. Jefferson had the ratification statement sent to Tobias Lear for GW’s signature on this date because, as state department clerk George Taylor, Jr., informed Lear, “the Secretary of the Treasury wishes to receive [it] to day to transmit by a vessel bound for Amsterdam to morrow” (see Taylor to Lear, 5 Nov., in DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). Hamilton enclosed the statement in his letter to Wilhem and Jan Willink and Nicholaas and Jacob Van Staphorst of 5 Nov. (see Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 13:22–23).
1. See “An Act making provision for the [payment of the] Debt of the United States,” 4 Aug. 1790, and “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt,” 12 Aug. 1790, in 1 Stat. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 138–44, 186–87.
2. For Hamilton’s authorization, see GW to Hamilton, 28 Aug. 1790, and note 1. For William Short’s authorization to seek a loan on behalf of the United States, see Hamilton to Short, 21 Mar. 1792, 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 11:165.
3. A contemporary English translation of the contract made with Dutch bankers Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholaas and Jacob Van Staphorst, and Nicholas Hubbard, which was to have been inserted here, is in DNA: RG 59, State Department Letters, Accounts, and Contracts Relating to European Loans. For background on this loan, see Hamilton to GW, 27 Aug. 1792, and notes 1 and 2. The loan was acquired at a rate of 4 percent interest, to be paid “within the Space of fifteen years after the first day of June 1792.” The principal was to be redeemed in five annual payments of 600,000 guilders each, beginning in 1803.