Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Nathaniel Hazard, [11 October 1791]

From Nathaniel Hazard

[New York, October 11, 1791]


I should not have so soon addressed you again but to apologize for a Freedom, I reluctantly took, & would not have done for any American.1 An english Gentleman Robert Fearon Esqr. has Business respecting the Estate & Affairs of a Coll. Mercer in Virginia, in which in 1773 the President had a personal Agency. At his Request, I barely present him for official Information. He is the Gentleman who dined with me in Company lately with Dr. Johnson2 & Mr. Wolcott.3 He has been regularly bred to the Law at the Temple, & came out from England to Virginia, from whence his Uncle John Foxcroft Esqr. I believe originally came, I mean the late Postmaster General. He has Letters from Governor Franklyn4 & others to distinguished Characters in America. He is here much caressed by the English. He does not admire however I find Sir John Temple.5 I became acquainted with Mr. Fearon on my late Journey to Philadelphia, I found him a polite amiable young Gentleman, & was flattered with the Attachment he shewed me after I had apprised him, to prevent Misapprehension, that I was a plain Citizen & not a fashionable Man. He hurried from Philad to return with me. We had a gay & agreeable Tour especially on our Way to Philad, attended with some very odd & laughable Adventures. He had Letters to the British Consul,6 & several eminent Merchants in Philad. He barely made his Bow to the Consul. His Wish is an american Introduction, & no Doubt he has Curiosity to see the American Premier. The Earl of Wycombe’s7 three Curiosities are to see New England, the President, & Premier. Mr. Fearon who returns to England in the Spring, will give a better Account of America, I suspect, than the Marquis of Lansdowne’s Son. He staid a very few Days in New york. Dr. Johnson dined one Day with him at Sir John’s; he said he was a well behaved young Gentleman & appeared to be fond of Information. Sir John asked Leave of Coll. Burr8 to introduce him, he I believe never went. He travelled Post thro’ New England. Dr. Dwight9 (who was lately in Town) marvelled that he left New haven, on Commencement Day. He is to go from Boston to Virginia by Sea. If this is the british Mode of acquiring Information—God help them! I presume this young Lord will be a proper Bureau Aid du Camp to Lord Sheffield; who I pray fervently will attack Mr. Coxe.10 I should glory in volunteering with him, as an Aid.

Mr. Fearon returns to America to settle in his Profession in Virginia. He is an unbiassed young Englishman, offers well as to at least decent Abilities. His Billetts discover Wit, as well as Politesse. I mean to correspond with him, when he settles, & learn truly the Interior of So. Politics. He is domestic with a Number of principle People there. An ill Impression has been attempted upon him, as to the President’s Inacessibility & Distance; it was done by a Refugee Officer. I effaced it. Fearon is domestic with Governor Franklyn, yet appears to be a Whig. He is observant, & I dare say the British Premier will catechise him.

I go to Connecticut to attend the Assembly with my fraternal Friend, Mr. Maxwell11 on Business, he has Edwards12 our Advocate & Pilot. I will press Turn Pike Roads & the national Manufactures in Jersey upon my Connecticut acquaintance. Laurence will I beleive try it here in January.13 I will write from New haven.


P.S. I am afraid you will think me intrusive in Fearon’s Business. A Letter to Mr. Coxe, would not have gratified him. He told me, thus “Bond will I know, present me in Form, but I want to reconnoitre ‘en famille’ both President & Premier.” I also feel uneasy at my last, unguarded, written Chat. As a public Man, I respect you more highly than any Man living, Ledyard’s Death, as a Friend, ought to wound me more deeply that any private Man’s in Existence.14 I know your Time is more than filled up. I wish barely Three Words “All is well” & two Letters—thus, A.H.

Inclosed is Peter Pendulum.15 It came from the East. O. W.16 when here said Halt! on that Business. I have wrote Halt! & I mean to say Halt! next Week. I have sent unknown to Fenno17 “Ventoso.”18 It is a general & liberal Squib. There is a Parson Palmer19 at Philadelphia, an Universalist. I will borrow your Envelope. Please to read the next Letter, I write to him, & suppress it, if you think best.

Bogert20 can explain, why I trouble you now with my Letter to him, if an Apology is necessary.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1See Hazard’s first letter of October 11 to H.

2William Samuel Johnson was president of Columbia College from 1787 to 1800. He had been a delegate from Connecticut to the Constitutional Convention and was one of the first two Senators elected from Connecticut. He resigned from the Senate in 1791 because the shift in the Government from New York City to Philadelphia would have made it impossible to continue his duties as president of Columbia.

3Oliver Wolcott, Sr.

4William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, had been the royal governor of New Jersey from 1763 to 1776. A Tory, he lived in England after the American Revolution.

5Temple was British consul general at New York.

6Phineas Bond was British consul at Philadelphia.

7Earl Wycombe, son of the Marquis of Lansdowne, inherited his father’s titles in 1805.

8Aaron Burr.

9Timothy Dwight, a Congregational minister who in 1795 became president of Yale College, was at this time the head of a coeducational school in Greenfield Hill, Connecticut.

10Tench Coxe in 1791 wrote a rebuttal entitled A Brief Examination of Lord Sheffield’s Observations on the Commerce of the United States (Philadelphia, 1791) to Lord Sheffield’s Observations on the Commerce of the American States with Europe and the West Indies; including the several articles of import and export; and on the tendency of a bill now depending in Parliament (London; J. Debrett, 1783).

11William Maxwell was a New York City tobacconist and merchant. An entry for October, 1791, in the records of the Connecticut Assembly reads as follows: “Upon the Memorial of William Maxwell of New York Shewing to this Assembly that at the Time the British Army took possession of New York in September 1776, he was possessed of Bills of Credit emitted by this State to the Amount of £567.5.0 Lawfull Money which he hath retained in his Possession to this Time and was unavoidably prevented from Lodging them in the Treasury of this State agreeably to the requirement of an Act of this Assembly passed in the year 1778” (Connecticut State Records description begins The Public Records of the State of Connecticut (Hartford, 1894– ). description ends , VII, 364).

12Pierpont Edwards, the youngest son of Jonathan Edwards, was United States attorney for the District of Connecticut.

13This is a reference to either Nathaniel Lawrence, an assemblyman from Queens, or John Laurance, a New York City lawyer and a close friend of H, who at this time was a member of the House of Representatives.

14Presumably this is a reference to Isaac Ledyard’s attempt to secure the Federalist nomination for Aaron Burr in the New York gubernatorial election in 1792. See Ledyard to H, February 1, 1792.

15This is a reference to an article, dated October 1, 1791, and signed “Peter Pendulum,” which was reprinted from the New York Daily Gazette in The [Hartford] Connecticut Courant, October 24, 1791. The article satirized the attacks on John Adams which the Republicans made in the summer and fall of 1791. Presumably the article was sent to Hazard before it was published.

16Oliver Wolcott, Sr.

17John Fenno, publisher of the [Philadelphia] Gazette of the United States.

18This newspaper article was published in the [Philadelphia] Gazette of the United States, October 22, 1791.

19Elihu Palmer, a native of Connecticut, who had preached in 1788 and 1789 in a Presbyterian church in Newtown, Long Island, had been forced after six months to relinquish his pulpit because of disagreement with church policy. He then went to Philadelphia where he preached as a Universalist.

20Cornelius I. Bogert, a New York City lawyer, was a member of the New York Assembly in 1791.

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