Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [10 May 1796]

To George Washington

New York May 10. 1796

Sir

When last in Philadelphia25 you mentioned to me your wish that I should re dress a certain paper which you had prepared.26 As it is important that a thing of this kind should be done with great care and much at leisure touched & retouched, I submit a wish that as soon as you have given it the body you mean it to have that it may be sent to me.

A few days since I transmitted you the copy of a letter I had received from Mr G—— M——.27

It is rumoured, that Mr. Pinckney entertains a wish to return to this Country.28 Give me leave to make known to you, that in such an event, I have ground to believe it would not be disagreeable to Mr. King to be the successor.29 I verily believe, that a more fit man for the purpose cannot be found and I imagine Mr. King will in every event leave the Senate. Should you think well of his appointment, I presume he would be disposed by a previous resignation to make the way easy to his nomination by you. Considering the strong commercial relations of the two countries it is truly very important that each should have with the other a man able and willing to give fair play to reciprocal interests. From what I have seen of Mr. Liston the present Minister of G B30 & from what Mr. Pinckney and others say of him to me—I believe he will be found a well disposed intelligent and agreeable man.

Very respectfully & affectly I have the honor to be Sir   Your obed Servant

A Hamilton

The President of the U States

ALS, MS Division, New York Public Library.

1“Substance of a Conversation with the President,” May 5, 9, 25, 1792 (AD, James Madison Papers, Library of Congress).

2ADf, MS Division, New York Public Library; printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 160–63, 227–29.

3H was in Philadelphia from February 17 to February 24, 1796, to argue the constitutionality of the carriage tax before the Supreme Court. For information on the Carriage Tax case (Hylton v United States), see 3 Dallas, U.S. Reports description begins A. J. Dallas, Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Several Courts of the United States and of Pennsylvania, Held at the Seat of the Federal Government. Vol. III, Second Edition. Edited, With Notes and References to Later Decisions, by Frederick C. Brightly (New York and Albany, 1882). description ends , 171; also in Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., ed., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , forthcoming volumes. See also Tench Coxe to H, January 14, 19, 1795; H to Coxe, January 26, 28, 1795; William Bradford to H, July 2, August 4, 1795; Edmund Randolph to H, July 21, 1795; Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to H, July 28, 1795, January 15, 1796; H to Wolcott, August 5, 1795; Robert Morris to H, February 10, 1796.

No evidence has been found to support Paltsits’s assertion that H was in Philadelphia “shortly before May 10, 1796” (Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 31). But see Coxe to H, May 16, 1796 (PAH,, XXVI).

4ADfS, from the original in the New York State Library, Albany; printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 164–73.

5ADfS, from the original in the New York State Library, Albany; see also Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 168.

6H’s “Draft of Washington’s Farewell Address” is printed as an enclosure to H to Washington, July 30, 1796.

7John Jay to Richard Peters, March 29, 1811 (copy, Historical Society of Pennslvania, Philadelphia); printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 264–71.

8Timothy Pickering to James A. Hamilton, January 16, 1829 (Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton (New York, 1869). description ends , 33).

9ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 259.

10Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Memoirs, I (republished Philadelphia, 1864), 265–67; also printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 290–91. The Memoirs were originally published in Philadelphia in 1826.

11Quoted in GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXXV, 215.

12LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

13ADS, MS Division, New York Public Library; LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 139–59.

14For additional information on the publication of Washington’s Farewell Address in American and European newspapers, see Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 55–74, 327–60.

15Rufus King to Charles King, November 26, 1825 (King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King description begins Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King (New York, 1894–1900). description ends , VI, 618–19).

16Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton (New York, 1869). description ends , 25–26.

17Pickering to James A. Hamilton, September 5, 1825 (ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

18Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton (New York, 1869). description ends , 26–27. Duer, the son of William Duer, was a former law clerk of H.

19Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton (New York, 1869). description ends , 27.

20DS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress. See also “Journal of John Silva Meehan,” June 23, 1846 (AD, MS Division, Library of Congress).

21Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton (New York, 1869). description ends , 28–31.

22Hamilton, History description begins John C. Hamilton, Life of Alexander Hamilton, a History of the Republic of the United States (Boston, 1879). description ends , VI, 497–532.

23See James Lenox to Jared Sparks, March 4, 1850 (ALS, MS Division, New York Public Library); printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 298–99.

24Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States of America (New York, 1850).

25See note 3.

26H is referring to Washington’s first draft of a farewell address. See the introductory note to this letter.

27Gouverneur Morris. See H to Washington, May 5, 1796.

28Thomas Pinckney, United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain. See Rufus King to H, May 2, 1796.

30Robert Liston, who succeeded George Hammond as British Minister to the United States, arrived in the United States on May 9, 1796, and presented his credentials to the President on May 16.

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