Notes on Alexander Hamilton and “Veritas”
June 12. Beckley tells me that Klingham has been with him to-day and relates to him the following fact. A certificate of the old Congress had been offered at the treasury and refused payment and so indorsed in red ink as usual. This certificate came to the hands of Francis [the quondam clerk of the treasury, who on account of his being dipped in the infamous case of the Baron Glaub[ec]1 Hamilton had been obliged to dismiss to save appearances, but with an assurance of all future service, and he accordingly got him established in New York]. Francis wrote to Hamilton that such a ticket was offered him but he would not buy it unless he would inform him and give him his certificate that it was good. Hamilton wrote him a most friendly letter and sent him the certificate. He bought the paper and came on here, and got it recognized, whereby he made 2500. Dollars. Klingman saw both the letter and certificate.
Irving a clerk in the treasury, an Irishman is the author of the pieces now coming out under the signature of Veritas, and attacking the President. I have long suspected this detestable game was playing by the fiscal party, to place the Presidt. on their side.
MS (DLC); entirely in TJ’s hand; partially dated; brackets in original except where noted; written on same sheet as “Anas” entries for 7 and 10 June 1793. Recorded in SJPL under 7–12 June 1793: “[Notes.] Ham. Klingman. Francis. Glaubeck.—Veritas by Irving.” Included in the “Anas.”
The story related by John Beckley, the strongly Republican clerk of the House of Representatives, on the basis of the testimony of Jacob Clingman, a clerk of Pennsylvania Representative Frederick A. C. Muhlenberg, reflected the continuing efforts of both men to uncover evidence of Hamiltonian corruption in the Department of the Treasury. Clingman’s account was grossly exaggerated, however, for Andrew G. Fraunces, the disgruntled quondam clerk, was about to appeal to the President, public opinion, and Congress precisely because of Hamilton’s refusal to approve his claim to two Board of Treasury warrants issued in 1787 and 1789 (Vol. xviii, 658–9n; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiv, 460–71, 476, 528–30; Berkeley, Beckley description begins Edmund Berkeley and Dorothy Smith Berkeley, John Beckley: Zealous Partisan in a Nation Divided, Philadelphia, 1973 description ends , 92–8). For contrasting accounts of Hamilton’s role in the infamous case of Peter William Joseph Ludwig, Baron de Glaubeck, which involved charges of official favoritism to the widow of General Nathanael Greene, see Vol. xviii, 686–8n; and Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiv, 462–3n).
No other evidence has been found to confirm TJ’s assertion that William Irvine, a clerk in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury, was Veritas, the author of four letters to the President, dated 30 May to 10 June 1793, that appeared in the National Gazette between 1 and 12 June 1793 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , xiii, 464). These letters sharply criticized Washington for issuing the Proclamation of Neutrality and warned the American people of the danger of regarding him with almost monarchical reverence. In light of TJ’s conviction that the letters were part of a Federalist design to discredit the Republican opposition in the eyes of the President, it is ironic that Edmond Charles Genet mistakenly informed the French government that TJ himself was “Veritas” (Turner, CFM description begins Frederick Jackson Turner, “Correspondence of French Ministers, 1791–1797,” American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1903, II description ends , 245).