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To Alexander Hamilton from James Wilkinson, 26 March 1804

From James Wilkinson

New Orleans [Territory of Orleans]
March 26th. 1804

Mon cher General & ami

I have received your Testimonials in favor of Mr. Ellery1 & Mr. Alexander,2 which flatter my pride & gratify my affections, because they bring me Evidence of your remembrance, & inform me that you repose some confidence in the assurance, by which I am bound to receive your Commands, & to Honor your recommendation.

The merited repute of this Interesting portal, to worlds known & unexplored, is attracting to it men of all nations, ages, professions, Characters & Complexions, and women too; The Market (permit me the expression) will at first be overstocked in all things, but the increasing population & expanding improvements, of the boundless Regions which must pay tribute here, will soon supply every defect & give full exployment to all—in the mean time the young Gentlemen, whom you Honor with your good wishes, may find employ in studying the Language, manners, Characters, & Interests of the Country. I shall endeavour to secure to them the ablest patronage, before I embark for the atlantic, which I calculate for the 15th proximo.3

This Letter will be handed to you by Mr. W. Burling,4 whose sensibilities proved too acute for the Health of poor Cushon.5 I hold Him to be a man of strong Intellect, good Manners, & decisive worth, and therefore I beg to name Him for your Civilities.

My best wishes & respectful attachment are for Mrs. Hamilton.

believe me ever your obliged & affectionate

Ja Wilkinson

General Hamilton

Mr. Burling will give you the details of this Country—which I dare not enter upon.


Mr. Burling is among the warmest of your admirers. I would give a Spanish Province for an Interview with you. My Topographical information of the So. West is now compleat. The infernal designs of France are obvious to me, & the destinies of Spain are in the Hands of the U.S. Name me if you please with grateful & affectionate respect to Mr. G. Morris.6

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1H’s letter has not been found, but see Abraham Ellery to H, January 7, 1804.

2H’s letter has not been found. James Alexander was a lawyer. In 1806 Wilkinson arrested him at New Orleans as an agent of Aaron Burr.

3On April 25, 1804, Wilkinson sailed for Washington on the ship Louisiana (Carter, Territorial Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States (Washington, 1934–1952). description ends , IX, 234).

4In the spring of 1802 William C. C. Claiborne appointed Walter Burling a justice of the Adams County Court in the Territory of Mississippi (Dunbar Rowland, ed., Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801–1816 [Jackson, Mississippi, 1917], I, 141). During the Burr conspiracy, Burling became a military aide to Wilkinson.

5Wilkinson used this pseudonym for Thomas H. Cushing, lieutenant colonel of the Second Infantry Regiment and adjutant and inspector of the Army (Royal O. Shreve, The Finished Scoundrel: General James Wilkinson [Indianapolis, 1933], 149).

6Gouverneur Morris.

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