Letter To Robert Benson

Basic Info

Author: Alexander Hamilton

Recipient: Robert BensonRobert Benson (1739-1823) Clerk of the New York State Senate

Date: August 18, 1782


In this letter written to Robert Benson, Alexander Hamilton states that under the orders of Robert Morris, Hamilton wrote to the Governor of New YorkGeorge Clinton (1739-1812) First and third Governor of New York, and fourth Vice President of the United States with concerns about the state's economic situation, primarily the variety of paper currencies and their depreciation. There is a clear sense of urgency, and Hamilton promises it will be in everyone's best interest for the data to reach him soon. Morris needs the requested information so that he will be able to make smart and informed financial decisions to improve the state of the nation, as well as his own personal financial interest.

Original Text


In obedience to Mr. Morris's instructions I lately wrote to His Excellency The GovernorGeorge Clinton requesting information on a variety of matters, which it is of great importance to the FinancierRobert Morris and to the public to know. The Governor in his answer tells me that the returns lately made by different public officers and on the files of the Legislature will answer most of the questions stated by me.

The principal ones were concerning—

“The supplies of every kind, money provisionsprovision (noun) an amount or thing supplied or provided forageforage (verb) search widely for food or supplies transportation, which have been furnished by this state to the United States since the 18th. of March 1780.

The amount of the different paper Currencies in the state and the respective rates of depreciation.”

You will materially serve the public and personally oblige me by letting me have copies of those returns as speedily as possible. Without these data The Superintendant [sic] of FinanceA position created by the Confederation Congress precursing the position of Secretary of the Treasury. The one and only person to hold this position was Robert Morris from 1781-1784. , far from being able to liquidate the accounts between the United States and this state, an essential object to both, will be able to form no idea of the comparitive [sic] extent of the compliances of the respective states with the requisitions of Congress; consequently he will neither know how to proportion future demands, nor how to regulate any reasonable scheme of finance.

I trust the Governor will have anticipated my request as you are on the spot with him, as he is no doubt convinced that this is a business of importance to the publicAs Superintendant of Finance, it was Robert Morris's responsibility to enact measures that would help the States get out of their terrible financial situation, which at this point equalled millions of dollars in debt. in general and to this state in particular and as he assures me of his disposition to give me every aid in his power.

If these returns should be on the files of the Assembly and not of the senate, you will do me a particular favour by communicating this letter to Mr. McKessonJohn McKesson Clerk of the New York State Senate to whom I make the same request.

More Information

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