George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, c.26–29 December 1795

From Alexander Hamilton

[New York, c.26–29 Dec. 1795]


I have the pleasure to send you inclosed two letters one from Young La Fayette the other from his Preceptor1—They appear reconciled to some further delay.

I take the liberty to inclose copy of a letter to the Secy of State respecting Mr Cutting2—I do not know upon the whole what sort of a man Mr Cutting is, and I have heared unfavourable whispers—But as to the particular subject of his ⟨claim⟩ I really think it deserves an indulgent consideration, and that it is expedient & right to favour it to a liberal extent—Some reflections have made me think it adviseable to place the matter under your eye—Neither the Secy of State nor Mr Cutting will be informed of this.

I wrote you a few lines two or three days ago in answer to your letter concerning Mr Randolph’s pamphet.3 Yr very respectful & Affect. servt

A. Hamilton

ALS, DLC:GW. This undated letter is docketed as “recd 31st Decr 1796,” but the enclosures verify that it must have been written in 1795. It could not have been written before 26 Dec., the date of the enclosed letter to Timothy Pickering, and Hamilton’s reference to having written his letter of 24 Dec. “two or three days ago” suggests a dating of 26 or 27 December. However, as mail generally moved between New York and Philadelphia in about two days, the docket suggests that the letter could have been sent as late as 29 December.

1See Felix Frestel to GW and George Washington Motier Lafayette to GW, both of 25 December.

2Hamilton’s letter to Timothy Pickering of 26 Dec. supported “privately” John Browne Cutting’s claim to compensation for “his agency in relieving our seamen from British impress.” Hamilton judged that Cutting had “rendered a very meritorious and an important service to the United States.” The government’s policy should be “to go lengths in giving satisfaction” to him. Cutting’s case “calls for liberality, not scrupulous or prying investigation,” and “What has been hitherto done … appears to be manifestly inadequate” (DLC:GW; see also Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 19:516–18). For Cutting’s statement of his claim, see Facts and Observations, Justifying the Claims of John Browne Cutting, Citizen of the United States, against the United States; in a Letter Addressed to the Secretary of State [Philadelphia, 1795].

3Hamilton is referring to his letter to GW of 24 Dec., in answer to GW’s letter to him of 22 December.

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