Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 16 August 1794

From John Jay

London 16 Augt. 1794

Dear Sir

I am happy to find by a New York paper, that the Result of the late Inquiry into your official Conduct is perfectly consistant with the Expectations of your Friends.1 It is there represented as being voluminous, and in a variety of Respects interesting. Be so good as to send me a copy. I wrote to you lately a confidential Letter, under Cover to the President.2 My Dispatches to Mr Randolph were under the same cover. I presumed that if the Vessel should be examined by some rude privateer, more Respect would be paid to a Letter directed to the President, than to others.

Nothing very important has since occurred. Things are in a Train that looks promising; but the Issue is of Course uncertain. The Resolutions from Kentucky3 and N. Carolina4 are here; and make disagreable Impressions. Incivilities as often produce Resentment as Injuries do.

Affairs in Europe wear a serious aspect. The french continue Succesful, and the English decided—it is thought the Dutch will resign to their Fate without very strenuous opposition.5 Geneva is undergoing another Revolution.6 News of Robertspiere’s ⟨vio⟩lent Death,7 has arrived, and gains Credit. If true, the ⟨impo⟩rtance of it to France or the Allies cannot yet be calculated. ⟨–⟩ Events have hitherto been more common than influencial.

Yours sincerely

John Jay

⟨– Hamil⟩ton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADfS, Columbia University Libraries.

4This may be a reference to “a respectable meeting of the citizens of Halifax county, State of N. Carolina, for the purpose of taking into consideration the conduct of Great Britain towards the United States,” which sent “the following address to the Representatives in Congress from that County”: “… We take occasion to declare to you our warmest indignation at the insults and robberies exercised on the person property of our fellow-citizens, unaccountably seized carried to the West-Indies, and other parts of the British dominions, and condemned by the minions of George of Britain, without even the formality of trial, farther than by adding insult to injury. We, your constituents, avow our highest approbation of the spirited measures adopted by the General Government, in remedy of those insufferable wrongs; We are pleased to see the harmony and consonance of temper, pervailing between the constituents and representatives of our country at large; but especially to find our immediate representatives, think with us, having discernment enough to discover, thro’ the mist of false colouring and mean subterfuges, for which that haughty and contemptible nation, is particularly distinguished—and spirit to resent their insults and injuries.

“Be ye sure, fellow-citizens, that in this you meet our warmest applause, and most hearty concurrence, readily and cheerfully to support you at the risque of life and everything dear on earth. We highly commend your peremptory and decided demand, that they go instantly into a strict observance of the treaty of peace: That Peace! purchased by the sword and the richest blood of our countrymen—and above all, that they without delay surrender the Western-posts, the asylum of brutal, bloody savages, and source of their destructive invasions, attended with robberies and murders, with circumstances of cruelty surpassing the powers of description; Convinced, that on our part there prevails every disposition to fulfil the treaty. We highly commend the policy of sequestrating debts, that are due to their subjects in this country, that we may be enabled to do ourselves that justice, which they dishonorably withhold. We highly approve the principles producing the embargo laid upon exports, however great the temporary inconveniences attending thereon; the greatest of which is the derangement of revenue; this, and all other inconveniences incident to the measure, we cheerfully undergo, rather than feed the carcasses of those insatiable wolves. Having opposed the principles of passive obedience and non-resistance when Liberty was only an idea, we are by no means tempted to yield it at this day of our political manhood, invigorated by the sweets of a Free Republican Government.…

“In addition to other grievances, the sufferings of our fellow-citizens in Algiers, claim our warmest sympathy. The calamities of our fellow-citizens in the West Indies, invite our pity, and command our resentment.…

“We cannot forebear some remarks upon the situation of our magnanimous allies and republican brethren, the French People; we see in them the lustre of republican and patriotic virtues unequalled; a spirit caught from us, highly improved on by them; We are therefore highly gratified in being informed of the manly career, to bring down their corrupt opposers wherever they meet them; We conceive that the present European war, is a war of human notice, and the issue in trial is, whether mankind may govern themselves by their own laws and consent, or shall be governed by the sceptre of arbitrary power, arrogated by those self-created monsters, called Kings, Priests and Lords.…

“Tell John Bull from us, that if he does not relinquish his infamous system of cruelty, oppression, theft, intrigue, low cunning, breach of faith, and innumerable other corruptions that particularly distinguish him the worst of tyrants! and if he does not instantly surrender the Western posts, and abolish his mean traffic, with his savage brethren, we will pursue him with vengeance, will in a furious march stride from lake to lake, and level to dust, post by post: Demand from him a release of our fellow-Citizens, detained in his infamous isles and a restitution of their plundered property, or we will wade the ocean to their relief …” ([Philadelphia] General Advertiser, June 21, 1794.)

5After the French victory in the Battle of Fleurus on June 26, 1794, the French military operations in the Low Countries continued to be successful.

6The impact of the French Revolution created dissension and turmoil in Geneva. In December, 1792, those citizens of Geneva who considered themselves oppressed by their government allied themselves with the peasants and returning exiles from Paris and forced governmental changes. In July, 1794, the revolutionists took possession of the city, executed many prominent citizens, and imprisoned others.

7Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre, the French revolutionist, was executed on July 28, 1794.

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