Alexander Hamilton Papers

Campaign Speech, [21 April 1801]

Campaign Speech1

[New York, April 21, 1801]

The general commenced by observing—That it had all along been his most sincere and ardent wish, that the two parties should meet amicably together, and discuss the merits of their respective claims to the public support and approbation—That the friends of Mr. Clinton, and those of Mr. Van Rensselaer should each agree to appoint a certain number of men of talents, and in presence of their fellow citizens of both parties calmly and candidly appeal to reason. In vain had this been proposed; in vain had he, and those who agreed with him in political sentiment, done every thing in their power to accomplish so desirable an end; and therefore, each party were under the necessity of meeting alone. He knew that the Republicans would never consent to this; nay that they dared not to come forward in this way; and he now challenged them to do if they dared.2

[New York] American Citizen and General Advertiser, April 23, 1801.

1For background to this document, see H to James A. Bayard, February 22, 1801, note 1; “Campaign Speech,” April 10, 1801.

The newspaper account of H’s speech printed above is contained in an item entitled “Interesting Information” which is addressed “To the Republicans of New-York” and is signed by “Sidney.” The account of H’s speech is preceded by the following statement: “On Tuesday evening the 21st current, a Federal meeting was held in the sixth Ward.… General Hamilton addressed the citizens present in a speech of very considerable length. As I paid particular attention to the orator, I could here relate the substance of the harranguing; I however shall content myself at present with giving to my fellow citizens, the first part of the speech; it is a


to the republicans, and as such deserves to be known.”

2Following the account of H’s speech, “Sidney” wrote:

“Fellow Republicans,

“I have told you a plain tale, I have not misrepresented the fact; and I believe that gen. Hamilton himself will acknowledge the truth of this statement. Do you act from principle? are you convinced that your principles are founded upon eternal justice? are you afraid to bring those principles to the seat of reason, and before the bar of public investigation? I know you are not. Let not then such boasting pass unnoticed. Meet your opponents, if they are willing; reason justice, and truth must triumph.”

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