Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 14 April 1797

From James McHenry

Philad. 14 April 17971

My dear Hamilton

The letter you sent me2 has been confined to myself; but the other letters you have written on the same subject, has in your successor at least created some unpleasant feelings.3 Where opinions clash, and where superiority is made too apparent something a little like envy will come into play especially should a suspicion take place that pains are used to gain proselites.

I have this moment received the inclosed paper,4 and I must intreat you to consider yourself on the ground you once occupied, and to give me your answer at length that I may avail myself of your experience knowledge and judgement. I have not time to go into all the detail and research which is necessary. You have all at your fingers ends. I shall rely upon your friendship & patriotism for a sound opinion as soon as your avocations will permit, and that you will not communicate to any person what I now communicate to you or what you may write me. Send me with what you do for me the inclosed of which I have no time to make a copy.

ADf, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1McHenry mistakenly dated this letter March 14, 1797.

4The enclosure, a letter which John Adams sent to the heads of departments on April 14, reads: “The President of the United States requests the Secretary of State, The Secretary of the Treasury, The Secretary of War and the Attorney General of the United States to take into their Consideration and Make reports of their opinions in writing Viz

“1st. Whether the refusal to receive Mr. Pinckney and the rude orders to quit Paris, and the territory of the republic, with such Circumstances of Indignity, insult & Hostility, as we have been informed of are Bars to all further measures of Negotiation? or in other words will a fresh Mission to Paris be too great an Humiliation to the american People in their own sense and that of the world?

“2. If another Mission be admissible can any part and what parts as Articles of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Great Britain be offered to France, or ultimately conceded to that power in Case of necessity if demanded by her?

“3 What Articles of the Treaty of Alliance and of the Treaty of Commerce with France should be proposed to be abolished.

“4. Whether it will be prudent to say any thing concerning the Consular Convention with that Power, and if it will what alterations in it should be proposed?

“5 Whether any new articles, such as are not contained in either of our Treaties with France or England, Shall be proposed or Can be agreed to if proposed by the French Government?

“6. What Documents shall be prepared to send to France as Evidence of Insults and Injuries committed against the Commerce of the United States by French Ships of War or Privateers or by French Commissioners, agents, officers or Citizens?

“7 In what Terms Shall remonstrances against Spoliations of Property, Capture of Vessels, Imprisonment of Masters and Mariners, Cruelties, Insults and abuses of Every Kind to our Citizens be made?

“8. In what Terms Shall be restitution Reparation Compensation & Satisfaction be demanded for such Insults and Injuries?

“9. Shall demand be Made of payment to our Citizens for property purchased by the French Government in Europe, or in the East or West Indies?

“10. Shall demand be made of the French Government of payment for Vessels and Cargoes captured and Seized whether by Ships of War or private ships?

“11 Shall any Commission of Inquiry and Examination like that with England be agreed to?

“12 What articles in the British Treaty can be offered to France without compensation and with compensation and what Compensation shall be demanded?

“13 Shall a project of a new Treaty abolishing the Old Treaties and Consular Convention be proposed to France?

“14. Shall such a Project with a Project of Instructions to the Minister be proposed and laid before the Senate for their advice and Consent before they be sent to Europe?” (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.)

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