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Drop-head title:] Treasury Department, January 6, 1791. Sir, I have the Honor to transmit to you a Report to the House of Representatives, relative to Appropriations of Money, for certain Purposes therein mentioned. I have the Honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient and Most humble Servant, Alexander Hamilton.
[Philadelphia: Francis Childs and John Swain,] 1791 - Folio (339 x 213 mm), 12 pages. Uncut and stab-sewn as issued in plain paper wrappers, preserved in a custom made cloth portfolio and blue morocco backed slipcase. Wrappers partially split, a tiny amount of rodent gnawing to the outer margin, but a superb copy in remarkable condition. Inscribed in a secretarial hand on the front wrapper "Appropriations. Reports of the Sec.y of the Treas'y, The Hon'ble W. Johnston". First edition of what is generally considered the first formal Federal budget, prepared by Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury and submitted to F. A. Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives. In 1789 and 1790, the Treasury ran public business without submitting a formal budget to Congress. Hamilton was appointed as first Secretary on Friday, 11 September 1789. Almost immediately, on 19 September, he issued what was, in embryo, the first budget, an estimate of expenses for 1789. Predominantly retrospective, this called for appropriations to cover the costs of running the government, paying war debts and invalid pensions, and discharging expenditures authorized by the board of treasury under the Confederation Congress. The Appropriations Act of 29 September 1789, passed to fund this budget, is the shortest of its kind in American history. This was followed on 1 March 1790 by a report on additional estimates of necessary expenditure, the second embryonic budget. Meanwhile, on 9 January 1790, Hamilton had published his major paper on the principles he wished to establish in the financing of the new republic, known as the First Report on the Public Credit. Now regarded as an essential plank in the establishment of the credit of the US, his plan was received with "untutored indignation" (Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, p. 303) and was initially rejected by the House of Representatives before being forced through in July under the terms of Hamilton's famous "dinner table bargain" with Thomas Jefferson. In a series of circulars and reports, Hamilton spent 1790 laying the foundations of a powerful state: public credit, an efficient tax system, a customs service, and a strong central bank. Although debate continued about the details of all these, Hamilton was gaining the ascendancy. Hamilton's budget of 6 January 1791 was therefore the first formally presented budget, projecting expenses for the coming year based on sound finance and accurate figures. As evidenced by this budget, Hamilton's Treasury Department was by far the largest of the government, with more than 70 employees compared to Jefferson's and Knox's paltry six employees each. This generated concerns that Hamilton was building a large bureaucracy as his personal power base. But, as first treasury secretary, Hamilton "had to devise rudimentary systems for bookkeeping, checking, and auditing, many of which endured for generations" (Chernow, p. 291). The total expenditure for the government's operation was $740,232.14.6. Hamilton's salary was $3,500, less than what he would have earned as one of New York City's top lawyers, and President Washington's salary was $25,000, or slightly more than 3 per cent of the total budget. The report is extremely scarce; Evans (who conjectures the place of printing and the publisher) reports four copies and OCLC two additional locations in American institutions. ABPC on-line records only one copy, browned, foxed, with marginal repairs to two leaves, bound in modern half morocco, sold for US $8,000 in December 2011. The present copy is almost as fresh as when it first appeared, bar some negligible nibbling. "As America's first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton stands alone in the annals of American financial history. One of the founding era's key political figures, Hamilton's influence on our fledgling country's early finances set the wheels in motion for the United States to become the economic super-power it is today laying the foundations for the U.S. capitalist system. As the first Secretary of [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      ZVAB    

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