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To Alexander Hamilton from Rufus King, [June–July 1793]

From Rufus King

[New York, June–July, 1793]

Not finding Philadelphia notes to remit, I have directed Specie to be sent to you, by the messenger of the Branch,1 who sets out tomorrow. Will not the late change of affairs in Holland2 enable you to proceed with a loan?3 On every account, it would be truly advantageous, if you had a handsome Sum to invest at this Time. The Bank you are sensible are disposed to do all in their power, but notwithstanding the force of personal considerations, they may not be able to supply money sufficient for all the Projects which may be urged for your adoption.

The late accounts from Europe may teach moderation, and cannot fail to inspire the Government with Caution—every thing seems to be changing; distrust, defeat, confusion & Dejection, are manifest in the affairs of France. It seems as if their past Fortunes had suffered an almost total change. Even the spaniards are said to have advanced into their country. The army in Savoy has been defeated by the austrians, and Biron4 their commander is said to be wounded. On the 27. march the Prussian army of 60,000 Men, with the King at their head commenced their operations against Custine at Mayence,5 and by intelligence of their progress, it can scarcely be doubted that the French army must fall.

The commissioners charged to arrest Demourier have been themselves arrested & sent to the Austrians. He has declared against the Convention & says France must have a King—whether all or a large part of his army will adhere to their chief, we can only conjecture. The commissioners could not have been arrested without the knowledge of the Army. Whether he opened to his army his views of restoring the monarchy does not appear—but it is certain that he was with his Army on the second day after having sent the Commissioners to the Austrians, when that event could not be a secret to any Part of his Army. We have no hint what conduct will be observed by the Prince Cobourgh6—whether he will cooperate with Demourier by uniting the two Armies, or remain a Spectator of the internal convulsions of France.

The Paris accounts up to the 1st. Apl. shew the alarming situation of that Metropolis—and render it probable that they were at the point of another massacre.

The Bristol vessel which bring in this information, left at Bristol a ship belonging to this port which would sail five or six days after her—so that we may hourly expect more full information respecting the affairs of France.

Yours affectionately

Rufus King

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1King was a director of the Bank of the United States.

2This is a reference to the defeat of General Charles François Dumouriez’s armies at Maestricht and Neerwinden in March, 1793, and the subsequent withdrawal of French troops. See Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard to H, April 4, 1793.

3For the attempts to negotiate a loan in Holland at this time, see H to William Short, November 5, 1792; Short to H, February 25, 29, March 22, 30, 1793; Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard to H, February 26, March 30, 1793; H to Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard, March 15, 1793. Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard, the bankers of the United States at Amsterdam, found it impossible at this time to float a loan at a desirable rate of interest and were able to negotiate only a continuation for an additional ten years on the one million florins due in June, 1793. See Willink, Van Staphorst, and Hubbard to H, May 1, 1793.

4In March, 1793, Armand Louis de Gontaut Biron, Duc de Lauzun, a general in the French army, had been placed in command of the army on the coast of La Rochelle.

5In March, 1793, the Prussian army had forced the retreat of the French army under the command of Adam Philippe, Comte de Custine. The Prussians then laid siege to the fortress at Mayence.

6See H to Henry Lee, June 22, 1793, note 3. Prince Friedrich Josias von Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was the commander of the Austrian forces.

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