Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Jonathan Dayton, 15 January 1796

From Jonathan Dayton

Philadelphia, January 15, 1796. “Your letter of the 4th1 is before me.… There cannot, I presume, exist a doubt as to my right to a portion of the Certificates alluded to in your letter.…2 Mr Stevens the elder3 declared before his death to my father4 that he would transfer them to me.… The short Interrogatory respecting our political prospect with which you conclude your letter, cannot be answered in a few words. Our session has hitherto been remarkably tranquil, but we can have no security that it will continue so, much longer. That Instrument, the cause of so much pleasure to some & of displeasure to others, that Compact which has already drawn forth so many pens & occasioned so much warmth—The treaty (as ratified) has for some time past been impatiently expected,5 and will, when it arrives & is laid before the House, produce, or I err exceedingly, agitations, collisions & oppositions, the extent of which cannot be foreseen or calculated.”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Letter not found.

3John Stevens, Sr., a shipowner and merchant, had been treasurer of the state of New Jersey and president of the New Jersey Ratifying Convention. Stevens had died in 1792.

4Elias Dayton.

5The Jay Treaty, which had been ratified by the United States on August 14, 1795, and by Great Britain on October 28, 1795 (Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 245), arrived in the United States in January, 1796. On February 27, 1796, Secretary of State Timothy Pickering wrote to William A. Deas, United States chargé d’affaires at London: “… To add to our mortification we find that a copy of the treaty arrived a month since at Charleston South Carolina, with the ratifications of the King of Great Britain and of the President, and the ratifications together with the full powers of the Plenipotentiaries who negotiated the treaty, have there been published in the newspapers” (copy, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston). Without waiting for official notice of the exchange of ratifications, George Washington proclaimed the treaty in effect on February 29, 1796, and submitted it to the Senate on March 1 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States: with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends V, 48).

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