Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Marquis de Lafayette, 12 April 1782

From Marquis de Lafayette1

Paris April the 12th 1782

Dear Hamilton

However Silent You May please to Be, I will Nevertheless Remind You of a friend who loves You tenderly and who By His Attachment Desires a Great share in Your Affection. This letter, My dear Sir, Will Be delivered or sent By Count de Segur, an intimate friend of Mine, A Man of Wit and of Abilities, and whose Society You will Certainly Be pleased With.2 I Warmly Recommend Him to You, and Hope He Will meet from You with more than Civilities. Now let us talk politics.

The old Ministry Have Retired and Lord North was not Sorry at the Opportunity. The New Ministers are not Much our friends, they are not friend to each other, they Have some Honest Men with little Sense, and some Sensible Men without Honesty. They are forced to New Measures not only By Circumstances But Also By the dispositions they Have formerly Announced.3

Entre nous seuls 814 [The British Ministry] Gave a hint to 82 [the French Ministers]. But it Would not do without 54 [America]. Now the reverse will probably Be done. After which Arrangements will take place in a few Months and I wish you was here not so much 205 [secretary to Doctor Francklin] as to the Commission. However I would like 2055 to be 125 [Minister to the French Court]. If you are 153 [Member of Congress] and if Some thing is Said to you then I wish you May Be Employed in the Answer. 5 [French ships] without 9 [Spanish ships] (and 4 [Dutch] is nothing) Will not I fear give 40 [Charles Town]. That is a Cause of delay and the 7 [Spaniards] thinks much more of 8 [West Indies]. But I Hope for 26 [Carolina] and 22 [Georgia] in 18 [September]. 84 [The King of France] Has Answered about 47 [peace] as You and I and every Good American May Wish.

In the Present Situation of affairs I thought My presence was more Useful to the cause in this part of the World than it Could Be on the other Side of the Atlantic. I wish to Have Some Matters Well Arranged Before I Go and then I Hope to Set Sails towards My friends in America.

Be pleased, My Dear friend, to Present My Best Respects to Your lady! My Compliments wait on Gnl Schuyler and all the family. Adieu, dear Hamilton, with the Most Sincere Attachment I am for Ever Your devoted Affectionate friend


ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Lafayette had returned to France in December, 1781.

2Louis-Phillipe, Comte de Segur, whose father was the uncle and friend of Lafayette, came to America in 1782 to replace the Vicomte de Noailles as colonel en second, Regiment Soissonnais.

3Lord North was forced to resign on March 20, 1782. George III offered the government to William Petty Earl of Shelburne, who, lacking a substantial party following, refused to accept the office. The King was then forced to accept a government headed by Charles Watson-Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham. Under the Rockingham Ministry, Shelburne’s nominal position was that of Secretary of State for the Southern Department. Charles James Fox received the secretaryship of the Northern Department.

4The numbers refer to a cypher which Lafayette used. The bracketed words following the cypher are taken from the manuscript where they appear above the numbers in the writing of H.

5H did not decode this number. The same number, in the preceding sentence, was translated to mean “secretary to Doctor Franklin.”

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