Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [23 April 1794]

To George Washington1

[Philadelphia, April 23, 1794]

Mr. Hamilton presents his respects to The President. In compliance with the desire expressed by him, Mr. H has made a memorandum of certain points for consideration in preparing instructions for Mr. Jay, which are herewith sent.

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1For information on John Jay’s appointment as special envoy to Great Britain, see the introductory note to H to Washington, April 14, 1794. See also “Conversation with George Hammond,” April 15–16, 1794.

On the evening of April 21, 1794, according to Rufus King, Federalist leaders King, H, George Cabot, and Oliver Ellsworth met “to discuss the subject of the Envoyship. All agreed that as the President might give the instructions without consulting the Senate, it would be most advisable so to conduct the business, and that the Treaty, if any should be formed, Should be Signed subject to the approbation of the Senate.

“In case the inexecution of the Treaty should not be adjusted, it was agreed that Strenuous efforts Should be made to obtain satisfaction for the Spoliations on our Commerce, and to establish Rules which should prevail and be observed in future—on the subject of the old Treaty that we Should require its execution on the part of Great Britain, and provided they would fulfil it, and likewise compensate us for the Capture of our Vessels, that we might agree to allow them for the losses incurred by reason of the non payment of Debts a Sum not exceeding half a Million Sterling, various propositions relative to a commercial Treaty and the posts, the Indian Trade, the navigation of the Lakes, the West Indies &c were also discussed—and M——stated his conversation with the Secretary of State, who appeared disposed to have the negotiation open, and the powers of the Envoy very discretionary.” (Rufus King’s notes, March 10–May 6, 1794 [D, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress].)

The President had clearly followed his usual course in requesting advice from his cabinet officers on the instructions to be given to Jay. H’s views are contained in the undated “Points to be considered in the Instructions to Mr. Jay, Envoy Extraordinary to G B,” printed as an enclosure to this letter, and in his “Suggestions for a Commercial Treaty,” April–May, 1794.

The points raised by H should be compared with the final version of the instructions sent to Jay. See note 13.

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