Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Rufus King, 23 September 1798

From Rufus King

London Sep. 23d. 98

You will have no war! France will propose to renew the negotiation upon the Basis laid down in the Presidents Instructions to the Envoys1—at least so I conjecture.2

If the negotiation is recommenced the most obvious precaution suggests the expediency of confiding it to hands above all suspicion.

We see that we have nothing to fear from the arms of France; all her skill, and energy, & Resentment, will nevertheless be employed to attain her Ends.

A Treaty liberal in Terms & Stipulations, tho’ neither shd. be performed nor observed would gain time, and go a great way to restore her injured credit.

The Election of President would return before the Efficacy and sincerity of the new Stipulations and Engagements could be experimentally ascertained! To give them any chance of Success they must be liberal to the utmost bounds of our Expectations.

Buona parte reached G. Cairo on the 22 July, but we are quite ignorant whether he was opposed by the Beys. It does not yet appear whether he will remain some time in Egypt in order to consolidate his Conquest & Authority over that Country, or proceed immediately by the Red Sea for India. We are without Details, or confirmation, of the victory which the french Papers of the 15. & 16 instant state to have been gained over the french fleet by Nelson.3 The news is on the whole highly probable, and the victory has according to these Reports been very decisive & glorious.

The war is about to recommence.

Yours &c

Col. Hamilton

AL, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1See Secretary of State Timothy Pickering’s “Instructions to Charles Coteswirth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, Esquires, Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the French republic,” July 15, 1797 (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, II, 153–57).

2On September 21, 1798, King wrote to Pickering: “I this morning received the Paris Papers to the 16th instant. ‘L’ami des lois’ of the 15. fructidor (Sep. 1st) announces the arrival of a flag of truce at Bourdcaux in 24 days from Philadelphia, and [François Martin] Poultier, the editor asserts that she brings Dispatches of the most satisfactory nature to the friends of Peace. ‘Le parti anglais (dit il) loin d’avoir pris décidément le dessus dans les E. U. est au contraire déjoué dans ses projects sanguinnaires, et la majorité du congrès vaincue par les procédés généreuses du gouvernment de la grande nation, a rejété tous les plans hostiles qui lui avaient été présentés par M. Adams: elle a repoussé toutes mesures qui tendraient à troubler, la bonne harmonie qui doit exister entre deux peuples amis, et après avoir manifesté très clairment ses intentions à ce sujet, le congrès s’est séparé au milieu des Bénédictions d’un peuple, qui sent tout le prix de son alliance avec la republique francaise, et qui avait déjà donné en plusiers occasions des preuves non équivoques de son éloignement pour les actes de rupture projettés par un fonctionaire infidèle que l’opinion publique accuse d’etre vendu au plus infâme de Gouvernemens. En apprenant l’heureuse nouvelle que nous transmittons à nos lecteurs, nous n’avons pu nous défendre d’un Sentiment d’admiration pour la conduite politique tenue dernièrement par la directoire envers les E: T. conduite qui a opéré des changemens si avantageux dans notre position vis-à-vis cette puissance, et qui doit nous concilier l’estime de tous les peuples.’

“It is probably known to you that Poultiers journal, tho’ not strictly official, is one that furnishes the means of conjecturing the Politicks of the Luxembourg. Paragraphs of the same tenor appear in the French papers of a later date.…” (ALS, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to Great Britain, 1791–1906, Vol. 7, January 9–December 22, 1798, National Archives.)

3This is a reference to the Battle of the Nile, August 1, 1798.

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