George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 7 June 1794

To Alexander Hamilton

Philadelphia June the 7. 1794.


I approve of the plan proposed in your letter of the 4 inst.1 namely, that a power for making a loan of 800,000 dollars be lodged in Holland, to be used at the time specified in that letter. When the business of Algiers is arranged, it will be seen, whether it be proper to give the premium of two per cent for an engagement to have the loan ready when it is wanted. The remaining 200,000 dollars may be reserved for the other purposes of foreign intercourse.

I presume that the power, which you design for Mr Adams, will be of the same kind with that formerly given to his predecessor Mr Short. I wish you to have the two powers prepared in conformity wlth this letter.2

Geo: Washington


2GW was referring to the power to borrow money given to William Short—then chargé d’affaires at Paris, but later U.S. minister to The Hague—in a letter from Hamilton of 1 Sept. 1790, for which, see Hamilton to GW, 3 Sept. 1790, n.2. On 11 June, GW signed a document "to Authorise and empower the Secretary of the Treasury for the time being, by himself or any other Person or Persons to borrow on behalf of the United States, within the said States or elsewhere, the whole or any part . . . of One Million of Dollars . . . and to make or cause to be made for that purpose such Contract or Contracts as shall be necessary and for the interest of the said States." On 7 July, Hamilton authorized the Dutch firm of Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard to make the loan upon the call of David Humphreys (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 308; Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:574-77). John Quincy Adams had been appointed in May as U.S. minister to the Netherlands.

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