George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 14 January 1795

From Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia] January 14th 1795.

Mr Hamilton presents his respects to the President. he has written the Letter to Mr Clarkeson which the President desired, & which if not countermanded will go by post.1 But in the course of writting it, the following reflection has pressed upon his mind with so much force that he thinks it his duty to submit it to The President.

“Clarkeson held the office of Marshal, a troublesome & unprofitable place. he resigned it (as is believed) in a short time.2 Giles has taken & kept it for a considerable time & during a period when disagreeable things were to be done, no doubt looking forward to something better. Clarkson is a man of considerably better fortune, & smaller family than Giles. Giles is as capable & trustworthy as Clarkson. Will he not have some cause to be dissatisfied if he sees an opportunity of doing something for him turn to the benefit of his predecessor?[”]3

No answer is expected unless the President should change his view of the subject.


1Hamilton’s letter to Matthew Clarkson, which was sent with a date of 15 Jan., reads in part: “I am directed by the President to inform you that the Office of Commissioner of loans is at your service, if you incline to accept it. Answer immediately, for a new appointment presses. In either event you will of course say nothing of the offer” (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 18:43).

Clarkson replied to Hamilton on 19 Jan., accepting the appointment if it could be deferred to 27 Jan. (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 18:152–53). GW did not send Clarkson’s nomination to the Senate until 2 February.

2GW appointed Clarkson marshal for the district of New York on 31 Oct. 1791 (GW to U.S. Senate, 31 Oct. 1791, first letter). Clarkson sent a letter of resignation to GW on 22 March 1792.

3On 1 Feb. 1795 Aquila Giles, whom GW had appointed on 3 May 1792 to succeed Clarkson as marshal, wrote GW “with extreme reluctance” to request the appointment as New York loan commissioner, asserting that “the Office which I have the Honor to hold, produces so little, and at the same time requires nearly my whole attention, that to a large family of children it makes but a small provision” (ALS, DLC:GW).

Giles was not the only applicant for New York loan commissioner during the period before Clarkson’s nomination. Henry Remsen, Jr. (1762–1843) of New York, former chief clerk of the Department of State, wrote GW a few days earlier on 28 January. He desired the post if GW considered him “competent to discharge it’s duties” and “a suitable person in other respects.” Remsen added: “In making this request, I persuade myself I ask nothing improper—more than I am warranted in looking up to from the length of time I have served in a public Office under the United States—nor than I can honestly & satisfactorily execute” (ALS, DLC:GW). Remsen also wrote Rufus King on 27 Jan., asking his support (DLC:GW).

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