George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 1 January 1793

To Alexander Hamilton

Philadelphia Jany 1st 1793

Dear Sir

After reading the enclosed letter return it to me.1 My sentiments on the general principle your are acquainted with—With the one handed, under this cover, do as shall seem best to you in the case before us, & let me know the result; or, if you chuse it, I am ready to confer further with you on the subject.2 I am always Your Sincere frd & sr.

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Hamilton Papers.

1The enclosure was apparently Thomas Jefferson’s letter to GW of this date.

2On 29 Dec. 1792 Hamilton had sent GW a translation of a letter of 27 Dec. from the French consul general in Philadelphia, Antoine-René-Charles Mathurin de La Forest, to the secretary of the treasury concerning the payment of French consular salaries through advances on the American debt to France. On 31 Dec. 1792 GW forwarded to Jefferson the translation of La Forest’s letter and asked for his opinion of it. Hamilton replied to GW later on Jan. 1: “Mr Hamilton wishing the President a happy New-Year, & presenting him his affectionate respects, returns the inclosed. He will wait on the President tomorrow on the subject, for a few minutes” (DLC:GW). No decision having been reached by 10 Jan., Jefferson on that date laid before GW a letter that the French minister to the United States, Jean-Baptiste, chevalier de Ternant, had written him on the subject two days earlier; GW immediately forwarded Ternant’s letter to Hamilton and asked that he take it into consideration (see JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 7; 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 25:39). On 11 Jan. “The Secretary of the Treasury waited upon the President . . . and observed—That the advance required by the French Consuls could be made without any inconvenience to the Treasury of the U.S. but as the U.S. had already paid to France the amot. of what was due to her at present—and as the unsettled State of things in France made it uncertain whether, when they shall have formed a permanent government, they will agree to allow of the advance thus made—the Secretary thought it was a matter which required weighty consideration and gave it as his opinion, that the President had better take the sentiments of the heads of the Departments on the subject. Which meeting the President’s ideas, the Gentlemen were requested to attend the President tomorrow morning at nine O’clock” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 9). On the following day, Saturday, 12 Jan., the cabinet met and “thought proper to comply with” La Forest’s request (ibid., 11). For Jefferson’s letter to Ternant of that date, notifying him that the United States had assented to La Forest’s proposal, see Tobias Lear to Jefferson, 14 Jan. 1793, n.1.

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