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Haym Salomon – spy and principal financier of the fledgling American republic

Haym Salomon (also Solomon; April 7, 1740 – January 6, 1785) was a Polish-born American Jewish businessman and political financial broker who immigrated to New York City from Poland during the period of the American Revolution. He helped convert the French loans into ready cash by selling bills of exchange for Robert Morris, the Superintendent of Finance.

In this way he aided the Continental Army and was possibly, along with Morris, the prime financier of the American side during the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain.

From the period of 1781–84, records show Salomon’s fundraising and personal lending helped provide over $650,000 (approximately $18,035,722.16 in 2018 dollars) in financing to George Washington in his war effort. His most meaningful financial contribution, however, came immediately prior to the final revolutionary war battle at Yorktown.

The financier died suddenly and in poverty on January 8, 1785, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after contracting tuberculosis in prison. Due to the failure of governments and private lenders to repay the debt incurred by the war, his family was left penniless at his death at age 44. The hundreds of thousands of dollars of Continental debt Salomon bought with his own fortune were worth only about 10 cents on the dollar when he died.