Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Timothy Pickering, 13 May 1797

To Timothy Pickering

[New York] Saturday May 13. 97

My Dear Sir

Mr. Goodhue1 takes on with him a Boston paper, the printer of which states that he has obtained by a Ship just arrived, a London Paper of March 24th; mentionning in positive terms an account just received from the Emperor that in consequence of a combination between Prussia & France2 he is driven to the necessity of making an immediate peace for the safety of the Empire—that in consequence of this the King who was at Windsor had been sent for &c &c.3

The manner of announcing it is too positive to allow much doubt that the thing is substantially true.

This intelligence confirms the expediency of a further attempt to negotiate—but I hope it will not carry us too far. A firm and erect countenance must be maintained and the vigour of preparation increased. Safety can only be found in uniting energy with moderation. Honor certainly is only to be found there, and either as a man or citizen, I for one had rather perish than submit to disgrace.


A Hamilton

ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

1Senator Benjamin Goodhue of Massachusetts.

3The following report appeared in the [Boston] Columbian Centinel, May 10, 1797: “Since our last the Galen, Mackay; Merchant, Bates and Eliza, Davis; have arrived here from London. By the latter we have received a Portsmouth paper as late as April 3, containing London news to Saturday evening, April 1. By this last, it is rendered certain, that the article in the London Oracle of March 24th, announcing the promulgation of a Message from the Emperor to the King of Great-Britain, declaring that ‘He was reduced to the fatal necessity of suing for an Immediate peace, to save the remaining part of his Dominions,’ in consequence of a new treaty of alliance between Prussia and France, is at least premature.…”

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