Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to Timothy Pickering, 21 September 1796

To Timothy Pickering

New [York] Sepr. 21. 1796

Dr Sir

Some time since Mr. McCormick1 spoke to me about the case of his Kinsman Mr. Pitcairn whom Mr. Monroe had prevented from exercising the functions of Consul.2 I can, in justice, inform you that this Gentleman is well considered in our City and that his political principles have been understood to be very friendly to the French Revolution; nor have we any doubt that his sentiments towards our own Government are altogether American. So that in truth there can be no shadow of political objection to him as to the Office for which he was intended.

With respect & esteem   Dr. Sir   Yr Obed Serv

A Hamilton

Col Pickering

ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

1Daniel McCormick was a New York City merchant and a director of the Bank of New York.

2On November 24, 1794, the Senate confirmed Joseph Pitcairn’s appointment as vice consul of the United States at Paris (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 164). On March 6, 1795, James Monroe, United States Minister Plenipotentiary to France, wrote to Secretary of State Edmund Randolph: “I was advised by your favor of the 2nd. of December that Mr. J. Pitcairn of New York was appointed Consul for this city.… Permit me to ask: Is he an American citizen, and if so, whether by birth or naturalization; and, in the latter case, whether he became such since the Revolution? If of the last description, his arrival will subject me to great embarrassment.… I candidly think, if his situation is known, being a person deemed by the English law a subject of that crown, he will not be recognized, or if recognized, not without great reluctance.…” On May 17, 1795, Monroe wrote to Randolph that Pitcairn had arrived in Paris, but that he “… thought it best to withhold the official communication of his appointment from the government” (Hamilton, James Monroe description begins Stanislaus Murray Hamilton, ed., The Writings of James Monroe Including a Collection of His Public and Private Papers and Correspondence Now for the First Time Printed (New York, 1898–1903). description ends , II, 226–27, 256).

For the mission for which Pickering was considering Pitcairn at this time, see Pickering to H, September 24, 1796.

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