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Item 182 - Alexander Hamilton Catalog 458 (Aug 2015)

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ALS signed “A. Hamilton,” one page, 8 x 10, January 12, 1794. Letter to Thomas Willing, president of the First National Bank of the United States. In full: “I will thank you to inform me how far it will be convenient for the Bank to go in discounts at the usual term to be renewed as heretofore for Mr. Delaforest [sic] upon the acceptances of the Treasury. The sums are, payable the 3d of Sep’r—272,250, payable the 5 of Nov—181,500: 453,750, Deduct already done—40,000. D’s 413,750. Tis urgent I should know without delay.” Intersecting folds, light foxing and soiling, a couple tiny edge tears, and a seal remnant below the signature, otherwise fine condition.

In addition to committing its own troops to the American cause during the Revolutionary War, France provided financial support in loans amounting to eighteen million livres, or about seven million dollars. The postwar US government, suffering financial shortcomings under the Articles of Confederation, failed to keep up with its obligations and by 1786 had stopped repayment to France entirely. With the adoption of the Constitution in 1789, responsibility for managing the nation’s budget soon fell to Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. He made repaying foreign debts a priority, recognizing this as essential to maintaining international confidence in the American financial system. The man mentioned here, Antoine de Laforet, was the assistant to Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet, French minister to the United States, who also pressed the fledgling government to repay its large debt. Both of the dates and dollar totals discussed in this letter appear in Hamilton’s report to Congress given at the beginning of January 1795, showing that they were indeed paid in full and on time. Concerning the financing of the Revolution and the national bank of Hamilton’s design, this letter presents ideal content inextricably tied to the very foundations of the United States. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

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