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To James Madison from Edmund Randolph, 9 July 1811

From Edmund Randolph

Lexington Virginia July 9. 1811.

Without one feeling, left of the character of a partizan, but still living to friendship, a man, whose hand is known to Mr. Madison, asks him, whether he recollects, or ever heard, that after Colo. Hamilton, had been severely pressed for a supposed misappropriation of the money, devoted by law to special purposes,1 he, Colo H, produced a letter, authorizing it, signed by President Washington, while on his tour to South Carolina:2 that the President at first denied its existence in positive and vehement terms, not having preserved a copy of it; but that it was afterwards acknowledged by him, and registered in the treasury department, ut valeret, quantum valere potuit?3

RC (DLC). Unsigned; in the hand of Edmund Randolph. JM’s docket, “July 9 1811 and Aug 8 1811,” is obscured by a sheet attached to the verso.

1Randolph referred to the resolutions introduced by William Branch Giles in the House of Representatives in February 1793, and supported by JM, condemning Alexander Hamilton’s conduct as secretary of the treasury. The resolutions, in essence, charged that Hamilton had misapplied appropriations intended to repay the foreign debt to repayment of the domestic debt, much of which was held by the Bank of the United States (see PJM description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–91). description ends , 14:450, 455–69; for Hamilton’s responses, see Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , 13:523–79, 14:2–6, 17–67).

2Randolph probably had in mind Washington’s 7 May 1791 letter to Hamilton (Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and Jacob E. Cooke, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (26 vols.; New York, 1961–79). description ends , 8:330).

3“That it may fare as well as it could.”

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