Front Page Titles (by Subject) hamilton to a committee of congress - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 3
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
hamilton to a committee of congress - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 3 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 3.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
hamilton to a committee of congress
April 1, 1794.
Principles and course of proceeding with regard to the disposition of the moneys borrowed abroad, by virtue of the acts of the 4th and 12th of August, 1790, as to the point of authority.
It was conceived by the Secretary of the Treasury to be a clear principle, resulting from the spirit of the act constituting the Treasury Department, and from the several provisions of that act, collectively considered, that all public moneys once obtained, and destined for disbursement within the United States, came, of course, under the direction of the officers of that Department, according to their respective functions, and that no special authority extrinsic to the Department was, in strictness, necessary to enable them to draw money, from whatever source originating, into the Treasury, or to issue them thence for the purposes designated by law.
It was also conceived by him to be, though a less clear principle, one most agreeable to the true spirit of the constitution of the Department, as well as essential to the preservation of order and due accountability in the money transactions of the country, that even moneys procured abroad, and to be disbursed abroad, were, as to their application, to be under the direction of the same Department.
Under the influence of these principles, thus entertained with different degrees of assurance (the President having determined to place the procuring of the loans under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury), the following course of proceeding was pursued:
The Secretary obtained from the President, in the first place, a general commission to him to make the loans authorized by the two acts of the 4th and 12th of August. A copy of this commission was communicated to the House of Representatives in the last session. No. 1 is dated the 28th of August.
He also obtained from the President an instruction, dated same day, to guide and justify him—1st, with regard to the person to be employed in Europe in negotiating the loans; 2d, with regard to the extent to which the loans under the first act, and payments on account of the foreign debt, should be carried, at all events, exclusively of the consideration of the advantageousness of the terms of the loans.
Nevertheless, from the special connection of the President with the subject, owing to the authority to borrow being immediately vested in him; from the circumstance of the existence of a particular discretion to be exercised by the President as to anticipated payments of the foreign debt, and from the official relation of each head of a department to the President, the Secretary of the Treasury considered it as his duty, from time to time, to submit the dispositions of each loan to the consideration of the President, with his reasons for such disposition, and to obtain the sanction of the President previous to carrying it into effect, which was always had.
The communications to the President and his sanctions were for the most part verbal. Two exceptions appear, from letters (herewith shown) of the Secretary to the President, of the 10th and 14th of April, and 22d of September, 1791, and from the President to him of the 7th of May, 1791, relating to a case of absence from the seat of government. These letters are evidence of the course and spirit of proceeding.
It is to be understood that the sanctions of the President were always bottomed upon the representations of the Secretary, and were always expressly or tacitly qualified with this condition, that “whatever was to be done was to be agreeable to the laws.”
Whereupon the committee came to the following resolution:
“Resolved, That it would be satisfactory to the committee, that the papers submitted to them April 1, 1794, by the Secretary of the Treasury, respecting the point of authority under which moneys borrowed abroad have been drawn to the United States, should be presented to the President of the United States, and that the Secretary should obtain from him, concerning the same, such declaration as the President may think proper to make.”