Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to William Duer, [4–7 April 1790]

To William Duer

[New York, April 4–7, 1790]1

While I truly regret, my dear friend, that the necessity of your situation compels you to relinquish a station in which public and personal considerations combine to induce me to wish your continuance, I cannot but be sensible of the force of the motives by which you are determined.2 And I interest myself in your happiness too sincerely not to acquiesce in whatever may redound to your advantage. I confess, too, that upon reflection I cannot help thinking you have decided rightly.

I count with confidence on your future friendship, as you may on mine.

An engagement at the President’s will not let me meet you at dinner, but I shall be happy to see you in the evening.

Adieu—God bless you, and give you the success for which you will always have the warmest wishes of Your affectionate

A Hamilton.

JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851). description ends , V, 444–45.

1J. C. Hamilton dates this letter 1789, but Lodge (HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , IX, 466) places it at the beginning of 1790. Joseph S. Davis concludes that Duer resigned as Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury in late March or early April, 1790 (Davis, Essays description begins Joseph Stancliffe Davis, Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations (“Harvard Economic Studies,” XVI [Cambridge, 1917]). description ends , I, 176–77). Both Timothy Pickering and Tench Coxe wrote to H on April 6, 1790, asking for the position formerly held by Duer. Pickering states that “Last evening a gentleman called on me to inform me of Mr. Duer’s resignation; and to urge me to apply for the vacant office.” On the basis of Pickering’s statement and on the assumption that H wrote immediately after Duer had resigned, this letter has been dated April 4–7, 1790.

2In discussing Duer’s “motives,” Davis has written:

“… A potent reason, apparently, was the removal of the seat of government to Philadelphia and Duer’s unwillingness to leave New York. Doubtless the growth of his business interests, particularly in connection with the Scioto Company and security dealings, made clear to him the unwisdom of further division of his time with official duties. Probably also he and Hamilton became conscious of at least the political inadvisability of his combining the office with his business interests, in view of the outspoken criticism of “speculators” and complaints of the connection of the Treasury Department with speculation.… Certainly speculation in securites was not legally consistent with service in the Treasury Department.…” (Davis, Essays description begins Joseph Stancliffe Davis, Essays in the Earlier History of American Corporations (“Harvard Economic Studies,” XVI [Cambridge, 1917]). description ends , I, 176–77.)

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