Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [6 October 1791]

To George Washington

[Philadelphia, October 6, 1791]


Mr. Chew having confirmed the character received by you, of Mr. Barratt,1 I have written to Mr. Vining2 requesting him to ascertain whether the appointment will be acceptable to him.

Mr. Houston of Georgia3 declines the offer made to him, on the score of want of a familiar acquaintance with figures, and its being inconsistant with the State of his affairs, to translate himself wholly to the seat of Government. I beg leave to remind you of Mr. Pleasants,4 if an opportunity of enquiry concerning him should present itself. Mr. McComb,5 the present auditor of the State of Delaware, has offered himself as a candidate & Mr. Stoddard6 of Maryland has been mentioned as a proper person, if he would accept. I as yet know not enough of either of these characters to hazard an opinion.

The Packet has brought me a letter of the 2d. of August from Mr. Church which contains the following paragraph—“I fear there is no disposition at present in our Ministers to treat properly with America. Lord Hawkesbury is lately admitted into the cabinet, & his prejudices are strong against you, & the enthusiasm for maintaining the navigation Act is such, that there is not a shadow of probability they will in any shape relax. I have heard nothing since my last of Mr. Hammond’s7 appointment to America, but I believe he is certainly to be sent out.”

With the most respectful attachment,   I have the honor &c.

A: Hamilton

P.S.   I have this day the honor of your letter of the 2d.

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Benjamin Chew and Andrew Barratt. See Washington to H, September 16, 1791.

2John Vining, a member of the House of Representatives from Delaware. Letter not found.

3On March 7, 1791, Senator James Gunn of Georgia recommended John Houston (or Houstoun) for a judicial position (Hunt, Calendar of Applications description begins Gaillard Hunt, Calendar of Applications and Recommendations for Office During the Presidency of George Washington (Washington, 1901). description ends , 62). In 1792 Houston was judge of the Superior Court of Georgia.

4John P. Pleasants, a Baltimore merchant.

5Eleazer McComb of Wilmington.

6This may be a reference to Benjamin Stoddert, a well-to-do merchant of Georgetown. In 1798 he became the first Secretary of the Navy.

7George Hammond was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States on September 2, 1791.

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