Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Rufus King, 9 March 1799

From Rufus King1

London March 9. 1799

Dear sir,

By Mr. Erskine2 whom I have introduced to you, I send you a Copy of the famous Map of So. america that Fayden has lately engraved:3 it is a fac simile of the Spanish Map so carefully concealed at Madrid.

Fayden is employed in another Map upon the same scale of the Spanish Territories north of the Isthmus; it will be less accurate and authentic; but such as it is it will supply a desideratum. I am from many considerations restrained from saying what ought to be said, and must not be delayed, respecting this important Country. I am entirely convinced if it and its resources are not for us that they will speedily be against us.

Spain and Portugal are completely in check,4 and the game may be terminated with them at the pleasure of France: the next step is plain and will be by and by unavoidable. What do we expect what without infatuation can we expect of France? Why then any further Reserves?

Yours Truly


LC, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

2David Montague Erskine was the son of Thomas Erskine, the first Baron Erskine, who was an English lawyer. In 1799 he married Frances Cadwalader, the daughter of General John Cadwalader of Philadelphia.

3William Faden. For King’s correspondence with Miranda concerning this map, see King to H, October 20, 1798, note 4.

4By the Treaty of San Ildefonso, August 19, 1796, Spain became an ally of France (Georg Friedrich von Martens, Recûeil des principaux Traités d’Alliance, de Paix, de Trêve, de Neutralité, de Commerce, de Limites d’Echange etc. conclus par les puissances de l’Europe tant entre elles qu’avec les puissances et états dans d’autres parties du monde depuis 1761 jusqu’à présent, 2nd edition [Göttingen, 1829], VI, 255–62). Portugal, an ally of England, was at war with France.

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