Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Colonel Timothy Pickering, [20 April 1781]

To Colonel Timothy Pickering

[New Windsor, New York, April 20, 1781]

Dr. Sir,

Let me know the result of your examination whether you can appoint a barrak Master to the French army; if you can, the General wishes you to appoint Col Champlin1 without delay. Have you the tract written by Price2 in which he estimates the specie & current cash of Great Britain?3 Have you Humes Essay’s,4 Lex Mercatoria5 or Postlethwait?6 Any of these books you may have, you will singularly oblige me by the loan of them.7 Be so good as to forward the inclosed by the first opportunity.


A Hamilton

ALS, RG 93, Miscellaneous Records, National Archives.

1Colonel Jabez Champlin. On April 21, 1781, Washington wrote to Samuel Huntington, the President of Congress:

“His Excellency the Count de Rochambeau, when I was at Rhode Island, made an application to me to have Colonel Champlin of Newport appointed a Barrack Master under authority of Congress, to be attached to the French Army. His reason was, that a native vested with the authority of our own government might act with more propriety and efficacy than a foreigner, or even a native merely employed by themselves. My answer was, that such an office appeared to me to be a usefull one, and that I would take the necessary steps for procuring the appointment” (George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).

2Richard Price, an English divine and polemicist.

3There are two pamphlets by Price that contain this information and to which H could have been referring. The first is Richard Price, Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America. To which are added An Appendix (Sixth Edition, London, Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1776). The second is Richard Price, Additional Observations on the Nature and Value of Civil Liberty, and the War with America: Also Observations on Schemes for raising Money by Public Loans; An Historical Deduction and Analysis of the National Debt; And a brief Account of the Debts and Resources of France (Second Edition, London, Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1777).

4David Hume, Political Discourses (Second Edition, Edinburgh, 1752).

5There are several volumes with this title, but H is referring to Wyndham Beawes, Lex Mercatoria Rediviva: or the Merchant’s Directory (Second Edition, London, 1761). For full title, see The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775, note 38.

6Malachy Postlethwayt, The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce (London, 1751). For full title, see The Farmer Refuted, February 25, 1775, note 35.

7H wanted these books for a long letter which he was writing or about to write to Robert Morris. See H to Morris, April 30, 1781.

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