George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Gustavus Scott, 31 October 1796

Washington 31st October 1796


We were favored, by last Mail, with the two inclosed Letters, which are forwarded by the earliest conveyance since their arrival; not having been received until the Saturday’s Mail had been closed—The prospects held out by Messrs Willink are by no means flattering—We inclose an answer to their letter which we presume will readily meet with a conveyance to Amsterdam or Hamburgh; a copy of which Letter is inclosed—Messrs Morris & Nicholson have releived us of 50,000 Dollars of our Bank debt, and we have some reason to expect that they will relieve us of $20,000 more in which case, we shall only owe $12,000, & 10,000$ of that sum yet remains in Bank, undrawn, & is destined to meet the expenditures of the next month. We shall probably be able to raise a further Sum of 5000 Dollars from other Sources, which will carry us to the middle of December, when the building Season will close—The months of Decr & January are those during which we have with most advantage generally contracted for one Year’s supplies of Beef, Pork, Meal, Lime & sundry other articles; on all of which contracts, it is essentially necessary to make considerable advances, & without them, no beneficial contracts can be made—The Bank of Columbia, whilst so much of their capital is absorbed by Morris & Nicholson, in their city affairs, and upon which principle alone they obtain such large discounts, can give us no effectual aid; money, however, is as necessary to our operations in the Winter as summer, and without some supplies by the middle of Decr, our Summer operations will be considerably crippled[.] We think it therefore, adviseable immediately to lay before you such plans as appear to us most likely to succeed—The reasons given by Messrs Willink why they can at present do nothing at Amsterdam, apply with equal strength to the rest of Europe—We therefore consider that Country as for the present out of the question, and that we must gain our immediate supplies within the United States, or not at all—A Sale of Lots or partial loan appear to be the only means of obtaining the object—We wish Mr Wolcott, with whom we heretofore had a correspondence on the Subject, to renew his application to the Bank of the U. States—Could we obtain from them 100,000 Dollars, to be advanced by Instalments of 7000 Dollars per Month, during the Winter Months, or, until April; and afterwards at the rate of 11000 Dollars per month until the whole shall be drawn; it would be sufficient, with our other resources, to carry us through the ensuing Year—We would readily agree to pay an Interest of 6 per cent per annum on the whole Sum borrowed, from the day of the first advance and to draw the money by monthly Instalments, as above proposed—This would, we presume, be convenient to the Bank, and would really yeild them an Interest of at least 8 1/2 per cent; and we would agree, further, to repay the money loaned, as soon as the foreign Loan is effected—If, however, these terms cannot be obtained, we know not how we can do better than negotiating with the Bank of the United States for $100,000 of the new created Stock, which will sell at a loss of 10 or 12 per ct, one we are very unwilling to sustain; but this will be less injurious than the loss of a Summer’s operations, & Congress cannot complain of a loss which arises from a Sale regulated by their own acts, & which prohibits the Bank from selling at any price less than par—The sooner the result of Mr Wolcots application is known, the better, as we mean, if not successful with the Bank of the United States, to apply to the Legislature of Maryland; who will soon be in session & who will probably lend us Stock on the same terms now proposed to the Bank—We beg leave, also, to submit to your consideration the propriety of offering for Sale at Phila, New York and Boston, through the medium of some respectable Broker at each place, a number of Squares, sufficient to raise 60 or 70,000 Dollars, limiting the Sale to certain prices, under which, they shall not be bid off—If successfull, these Sales will greatly facilitate our finances, and, if not, no expense or inconvenience can arise—We have the honor to be, &c.

G. Scott

W. Thornton

A. White

DNA: RG 42—Records for the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, Miscellany Letters of the Presidents.

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