Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Affleck, 7 September 1793

From Robert Affleck1

Nyork 7 Septr. 1793


A Mr. G: Frances, lately from your Office, waited on Thas. Basen,2 and asked him if he recoleted any thing of a Certificate he had bought of him about two years ago. Basen Answered he did. Frances told Basen he was employed by you to purchase, & that he had of you 50 Dolls. for his trouble And that you then said the profits was to be applied to the benefit of the widow Green, but that you applied them to your own emolument. Two or three days after this interview Basen was waited on by a Lawyer from philadelphia,3 who put to Basen nearly the same questions as Frances had done, adding “that Basen would recollect himself for that he would be called upon next session.” On Tuesday last a printed pamphlet4 Containing 23 pages Octavo was handed to Basen by Frances desiring him to peruse it till that day, when Frances returned and presented a paper to Basen to Sign, but Basen declined signing it, for the fact is he can neither read nor write. The Pamphlet was given to me to peruse, by a Neighbour, but being sent in a few minutes I had not leisure to examine it. I have tried to get it since but cannot.

I have mentioned the affair to Mr. E: Benson5—And I doubt not but he has Notified you by this time.

My Sole motive in troubling you with this Communication is to put you on your guard, that you may be able to thwart the efforts of Malice envy and treachery, which Generally & particularly in this Case are Combined against uncommon abilities and worth.

With great respect, I am   Sir, your humbe. St.

R: Affleck

If my Services Can be of any use in this business you may command them.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see Andrew G. Fraunces to H, May 16, 1793. Affleck was a New York City merchant.

2Thomas Bazen, a New York City storekeeper and merchant, lived at 71 William Street, a short distance from Affleck, whose residence was at 83 William Street. For Bazen’s part in the purchase of Baron Glaubeck’s pay, see Fraunces to H, May 16, 1793, note 9.

3The “Lawyer from Philadelphia” has not been identified. John Beckley in a letter of June 22, 1793, to an unnamed correspondent had written that he might go to New York on his return from Virginia in September. See the introductory note to Fraunces to H, May 16, 1793. On the other hand, an account from the [Philadelphia] National Gazette (see Fraunces to H, May 16, 1793, note 39) suggests that John M. Taylor may have been the person to whom Affleck is referring, as Fraunces had told George Washington that Taylor had been given all the documents. See H to Taylor, August 6, 1793, note 1.

4Fraunces, An Appeal description begins [Andrew G. Fraunces], An Appeal to the Legislature of the United States, and to the Citizens Individually, of the Several States, Against the Conduct of the Secretary of the Treasury. By Andrew G. Fraunces, Citizen of the State of New-York, Late in the Treasury of the United States. “E tenebris elucidit lux.” Printed for Andrew G. Fraunces, Esq. (n.p., 1793). description ends .

5Egbert Benson, a New York lawyer and leader in that state’s Revolutionary War movement, was a Federalist member of Congress from 1789 to 1793.

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