To James Monroe1
[New York, January, 1798]2
A resolution long formed to act with deliberation in any case which should involve the extremity, to which I am now driven, has occasionned me to defer my reply to your letter of the first instant.3
Though I have it in my power completely to satisfy any candid mind, that I never give a shadow of cause for the resentment you avow; yet the indelicate doubt of the veracity of my representation to you, and the deliberate spirit of animosity, which are manifested in your letter, forbid any further attempts on my part to pursue the road of explanation.
I therefore acquiesce in the necessity you impose on me.
And have accordingly authorised 4 who will deliver you this, and who will act as my friend in the affair, to adjust with you a time and place of meeting for such a decision of the matter as you appear to desire.5
I am Sir Your humble servant
ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. For background to this letter, which H presumably decided not to send, see Monroe to H, December 2, 1797. See also the introductory note to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to H, July 3, 1797; the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” August 25, 1797.
2. H did not date this letter. The letter “of the first instant,” however, had to be dated January 1, 1798, because as of December 24, 1797, Monroe was still receiving advice on whether or not to send any letter to H (see Monroe to H, December 2, 1797, note 1).
3. Letter not found.
4. Space left blank in MS.
5. On February 8, 1797, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Monroe: “I had expected Hamilton would have taken the field …” (AL [incomplete], Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress; copy, James Monroe Papers, Library of Congress).