To Oliver Wolcott, Junior
N Y July 1. 1800
I send you the enclosed.1 If any good use can be made of it you will do it.
I have been in Massachusettes, New Hampshire & Rhode Island.2 There is little doubt of Fœderal Electors in all. But there is considerable doubt of a perfect Union in favour of Pinckney. The leaders of the first class are generally right but those of the second class are too much disposed to be wrong. It is essential to inform the most discreet of this description of the facts which denote unfitness in Mr. Adams. I have promised confidential friends a correct statement.3 To be able to give it, I must derive aid from you. Any thing you may write shall if you please be returned to you. But you must be exact & much in detail. The history of the mission to France from the first steps connected with the declarations in the Speech to Congress down to the last proceedings is very important.4
I have serious thoughts of writing to the President to tell him That I have heared of his having repeatedly mentioned the existence of a British Faction in this Country & alluded to me as one of that faction—requesting that he will inform me of the truth of this information & if true what have been the grounds of the suggestion.5
His friends are industrious in propagating the idea to defeat the efforts to unite for Pinckney.6 The inquiry I propose may furnish an antidote and vindicate character. What think you of the Idea?
For my part I can set Malice at defiance.
O Wolcott Esq
ALS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford; copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
4. See McHenry to H, January 26, 1798; Timothy Pickering to H, two letters of March 25, 1798; “The Stand No. V,” April 16, 1798, note 28; Theodore Sedgwick to H, February 19, 22, 25, 1799; Pickering to H, February 25, 1799; H to George Washington, first letter of October 21, 1799, note 2.
5. On December 29, 1799, Wolcott wrote to Fisher Ames: “The President’s mind is in a state which renders it difficult to determine what prudence and duty require from those about him. He considers Col. Pickering, Mr. McHenry, and myself as his enemies; his resentments against General Hamilton are excessive; he declares his belief of the existence of a British faction in the United States” (Gibbs, Wolcott description begins George Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams: Edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury (New York, 1846). description ends , II, 314–15). See also Sedgwick to Rufus King, September 26, 1800; George Cabot to King, July 19, 1800 (King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King description begins Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King (New York, 1894–1900). description ends , II, 278–79, III, 308). In September, 1800, Cabot wrote to Wolcott: “… the P denies that he ever called us ‘British Faction’ or any of the hard names of which he has been accused—he does not recollect these intemperences & thinks himself grossly misunderstood or misrepresented” (ALS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford).
6. On June 15, 1800, Ames wrote to Wolcott that there were three parties in the United States, one of which consisted of “the personal or interested friends of a man, whose caprices and weaknesses have been sometimes scienter, but often blindly used, to weaken our party and to animate the other” (Gibbs, Wolcott description begins George Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams: Edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury (New York, 1846). description ends , II, 368). See also the introductory note to H to Sedgwick, May 4, 1800; Sedgwick to H, May 13, 1800, note 2. Prominent Federalists who were considered Adamites included Samuel Dexter, Harrison Gray Otis, Henry Knox, William Cushing, Charles Jackson, and George Champlin. See Robert G. Harper to Otis, August 28, 1800 (Morison, Harrison Gray Otis description begins Samuel Eliot Morison, The Life and Letters of Harrison Gray Otis, Federalist, 1765–1848 (Boston and New York, 1913). description ends , I, 192–93). See also John Rutledge, Jr., to H, July 17, 1800.