George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 19 April 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department April 19. 1792

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to transmit to the President a copy of his letter of the 8. of March to the minister Plenipotentiary of France, on the subject of an advance of money, and another of the minister’s answer;1 in order that the President may be pleased to cause the necessary instructions to be sent through the proper department to the minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, at the Court of France.2

LB, DNA: RG 59, Instructions to Diplomatic Officers, Instructions, 1785–1906; copy (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers.

For the background to this document and its enclosures, see Hamilton to GW, 8 Mar. 1792, source note.

1For Hamilton’s enclosed letter to Ternant of 8 Mar., see Hamilton to GW, 8 Mar., n.1. The enclosed copy of Ternant’s reply of 10 Mar. reads: “I have received the letter you have taken the trouble to write to me in answer to that which I had the honor to address to you the day before yesterday. After the assurances you give me of the full repayment of the demandable part of the debt of the United States to France, and the necessity under which the law respecting this debt lays your Government to anticipate the reimbursement in consideration of the favorable conditions offered, I cannot do otherwise than accept the sum which you are willing to advance, and to agree to the terms proposed for carrying the same into effect.

“As to the indemnification, necessary to prevent all risk on the part of the United States, I prefer, if it should meet the approbation of the President, that this particular should be settled at Paris, on the grounds, or the alternative, mentioned in your letter. In consequence whereof I will transmit this letter to the Court, and in the mean time inform them of the obliging readiness with which the government of the United States has listened to the requisition I made in favor of St Domingo. It remains for me to request of you, Sir, to cause to be paid the 400,000. dollars to M. [Antoine-René-Charles Mathurin] de la Forest, or his order, and to anticipate the latter payments as fast as the Treasury arrangements will permit” (DNA: RG 59, Instructions to Diplomatic Officers, Instructions, 1785–1906).

2On 28 April, Thomas Jefferson sent instructions and a copy of the correspondence between Hamilton and Ternant to Gouverneur Morris (see Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 23:467–69).

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