Alexander Hamilton Papers
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George Washington to Edmund Randolph, 22 March 1793

George Washington to Edmund Randolph1

United States
22d March 93.

Sir

I send you a letter of the 26 Ulto from William Bingham Esquire to the Secretary of the Treasury together with the documents accompanying it.

I desire your opinion on the following points arising upon these papers.

I   Whether the proceedings heretofore by the UStates in Congress assembled have transferred from Mr. Bingham to the public the consequences of the transaction in question so as to make the suit now depending properly an affair of the Government.

II   Whether the Executive is competent to the requisite measures of defence and security against any unfounded pretensions of the claimants Plaintiffs or Prosecutors, or whether further special provision by law is necessary.

III   If the Executive be so competent—What is the proper course under the existing circumstances to be pursued.

G W

The Attorney Genl of the U. S.

Df, in the handwriting of H, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives.

1For background to this letter, see William Bingham to H, February 26, 1793, and H to Washington, March 20, 1793.

An entry in JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends for March 20, 1793, reads as follows: “The Secy of the Treasury laid before me a lettr. from Mr. W. Bingham with sundy documents—relative to a suit concerg a danish vessel captured during the War by an American Privateer—an act. of wh. a Suit has been brot agt. Mr. Bingham, which he wishes to know if the U. S. will sustain, as was done under the former congress. The Secy desired to bring the merits of the Case to the view of the atty. Genl. & obtain his opinion thereon” (JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 81). On March 25, 1793, “The Attorney General laid before me a lettr stating the opinion of the Secy of State—the Secy of the Treasury—& himself on the subject of a suit instituted agt. Mr. Bingham—and suggesting the measures proper to be pursued in that case” (JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 90). Although this letter has not been found, Washington’s letter to Randolph, dated March 27, 1793, indicates that the opinion was favorable to Bingham (copy, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

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