Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Auldjo, [26 July 1787]

To John Auldjo1

[New York, July 26, 1787]


I have delivered the paper you committed to me as it stood altered to Major Peirce from whose conduct I am to conclude the affair between you is at an end.2 He informs me that he is shortly to set out on a jaunt up the North River.

As you intimate a wish to have my sentiments in writing on the transaction I shall with pleasure declare that the steps you have taken in consequence of Mr. Pearces challenge have been altogether in conformity to my opinion of what would be prudent proper and honorable on your part. They seem to have satisfied Mr. Pearces scruples arising from what he apprehended, in some particulars, to have been your conduct to him and I presume we are to hear nothing farther of the matter.

I remain with great esteem   Sir Your obedient & humble servant

Alex Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2The denouement of the controversy between Pierce and Auldjo was described in the following statement by Mitchell, Pierce’s second:

“I do certify the following to be a true statement of what passed between Majr. Pierce & Mr. Aldjo from ye. 19th. to the 25th. July 1787—

“In the Morning of the 19th. of July 1787—I received a letter from the Honble William Pierce Esqr by which my attention was called to an affair between him and a Mr Aldjo. I was solicited as a friend to be the bearer of a challenge which the letter contained, the cause for which was stated in general Terms. I immediately waited on Majr. Pierce and after having a conference with him and being satisfied as to the propriety of the measure I waited on Mr Aldjo, who read the challenge but said he could not subscribe to the terms proposed by Majr. Pierce. He said he had business that then demanded his attention, and which in justice to his convictions must adjust before he could return a reply to Majr. Pierce—but that he should hear from him in due season; on the same day Majr. Pierce received a letter from Mr. Aldjo who said he was not a little surprized at the letter which I delivered him—that his then situation rendered a hasty acceptance of his challenge improper—& a consciousness of his own fallability disposed him to leave the door open to such explanation as was calculated to discover and accommodate any just cause of offence, and that he had prevailed on Colo. Hamilton to wait on him, but if he had determined otherwise, then Colo. Hamilton would settle what might be necessary for his Honor. Major Pierce assigned the letter & business to me. I met with Colo. Hamilton at the City Hall about three OClock and talked the business over. He mentioned to me the propriety of our interposing first as Mediators and endeavouring to effect a reconciliation in which I most heartily concurred, and the mode proposed was a meeting of the parties, which I suggested to Major Pierce who conceived an interview improper after what had passed; this I reported to Colo. Hamilton at our next meeting. Colo. Hamilton then wrote to Major Pierce desiring of him a full & explicit statement of the offence given by Mr. Aldjo—which Major Pierce gave him. Mr. Aldjo then made such Reply as was thought sufficiently satisfactory by Colo. Hamilton, & myself. Nathl Mitchell

“N York, Septr. 10th. 1787.” (ADS, Mr. Hall Park McCullough, North Bennington, Vermont.)

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