George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 21 October 1799

From Alexander Hamilton

N. York Oct. 21st 1799

Dear Sir

On my return from Trenton, the day before yesterday, I found your private letter of the 13th as well as yr public letter of the 15th instant.

The News papers have probably informed you that poor Avery is dead of the yellow fever.1

The President has resolved to send the commissioners to France notwithstanding the change of affairs there. He is not understood to have consulted either of his Ministers; certainly not either the Secy of War or of Finance. All my calculations lead me to regret the measure. I hope that it may not in its consequences involve the United States in a war on the side of France with her enemies.2 My trust in Providence which has so often interposed in our favour, is my only consolation. With great respect &c.

Copy, DLC: Hamilton Papers.

1GW wrote Hamilton on 13 Oct. to inquire about John Avery, to whom he hoped to rent his new houses in the Federal City. See GW to Avery, 25 Sept., n.3.

2It was on 16 Oct. that John Adams ordered Secretary of State Timothy Pickering to instruct Oliver Ellsworth and William R. Davie, who had been appointed in February 1799, to sail for France by 1 Nov. and join William Vans Murray as the three U.S. envoys to France. For John Adams’s later account of Hamilton’s attempt at this time to persuade him not to send the two ministers plenipotentiary to France, see Hamilton to GW, 21 Oct., n.2, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 23:545–47.

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