George Washington Papers

To George Washington from H. Z., 24 March 1789

From H. Z.

Albany 24th March 1789


The object which I have in contemplation, in addressing this Letter to you, is to caution you, to beware of the artful designs, and machinations of your late Aid de Camp; Alexander Hamilton; who, (like Judas Iscariott) would for the gratification of his boundless Ambition, betray his Lord, and Master. It is, Sir, an undoubted fact, that this Man, while he was in your Excellency’s Family, did artfully endeavour, to lessen you in the estimation of the Officers of the army, and others, by holding your Abilities cheap; merely to induce an opinion, that he was your Oracle; and that your General Orders, and Letters, were the production of his Masterly Pen.

A high respect for your person, and a veneration for your Patriotism, and Military Character, heightened by the strong tie of gratitude (which I personally owe you) has prompted me, to give you this information; to prevent your being deceived, by the fawnings of this wicked Man; who can readily assume any shape, to suit his nefarious purposes. With the most profound respect, I am, your Excellency’s Obedient Servant

H. Z.


The writer of this anonymous letter has not been identified, but the attack on Alexander Hamilton was undoubtedly part of the controversy provoked by the publication of a series of letters, written by Hamilton but signed “H. G.,” which appeared in the Daily Advertiser (New York) in February, March, and April 1789. The sixteen “H. G.” letters, addressed to a fictitious recipient in Suffolk County, N.Y., constituted a vehement attack on New York governor George Clinton and evoked a series of anonymous and increasingly virulent attacks on “H. G.” in New York newspapers. See the introductory note to “H. G. Letters,” 20 Feb.–9 April 1789, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 5:262.

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