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To Alexander Hamilton from William Vans Murray, 28 August 1801

From William Vans Murray

The Hague 28 augt. 1801.

Dear Sir,

I have been returned from Paris since nine days. Before I left that city Mr. Vaublanc1—Mr. Latour Mauberg2 & My friend Mr. Fleurieu3 gave me the inclosed letters for their particular friends & one for you4 of whom V. speaks by sympathy with a very respectful souvenir of your Kindness to the ladies. These men & many other constitutionalists are in Govt.—& such as these follow rather than give the Tone of B’s administration, wh., be assured as to the theory of govt. for France, is fully up to theirs, & indeed more rational. I wish that extraordinary man to live & hold the throne till France be placed in a situation to speak out & naturally, without a revolution. As far as I can judge this is the only way by wh. her former principles can be recalled into habitual practice & wh.out convulsion. I speak of theory relatively to France herself—as to other nations, such is the state to wh. her infernal revolution has brought all Europe almost, that every question is one of force. This however is nearly as it was. But the great dæmon Democratic philosophy is done, & pretty well chained for a thousand years. So far the disease of the revolution is cured—it’s effects it is true are still felt. B. & time will remove these by gradually replacing as much of the old habits of power & ways of thinking respecting govt & religion, as perhaps is practicable.

I did not intend to say one word of politics—but as I have the misfortune I presume to differ from you in some opinions on our affairs that ought to be in a degree tested by the State of France—I owed it to the candour which you have taught me to love as an ornament as well as a duty to tell you my opinion in this unlaboured way. I beg the favour of you to have the inclosed safely delivered—& to put that addressed “A Mr. Le Breton5 pour Mr. Sicca à Philadie” in some very sure conveyance. I should have gone in the ship wh. carries this but it wd. be too expensive for me to get on from N. York with a half a dozen trunks—so that I wait for a Baltimore ship. I need not tell you that I am recalled.6

Your friend Colbert7 whose case you did me the honour to recommend to me, has not yet recovered—but will get back nearly all, He believes.

I am with great respect Dear Sir   Yr. mo. ob. sert.

W V Murray.

General Hamilton.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Vincent-Marie Viennot Vaublanc, a member of the Right favoring constitutional government, represented the department of Seine-et-Marne in the French Legislative Assembly from 1791 to 1796 and was a member of the Council of Five Hundred in 1796 and 1797. As a result of the coup d’état of 18 Fructidor, an V (September 4, 1797), Vaublanc was banished from France by a resolution of the same date (Duvergier, Lois description begins J. B. Duvergier, Collection Complète des Lois, Décrets, Ordonnances, Réglemens, et Avis du Conseil-d’Etat, Publiée sur les Editions Officielles du Louvre; de L’Impremerie Nationale, Par Baudouin; et Du Bulletin des Lois (Paris, 1824–1825). description ends , X, 44).

2Marie-Charles-César Fay, comte de Latour-Maubourg, was named deputy to the Estates-General in 1789 by the nobles of Puy-en-Velay and was one of the first noblemen to join the Third Estate when it declared itself the Constituent Assembly in June, 1789. Subsequently, Latour-Maubourg served under the Marquis de Lafayette as a maréchal-de-camp, and he accompanied Lafayette when he left France in August, 1792. Both men were arrested by the Austrians when they crossed the border from France, and they were imprisoned at Olmütz until September 19, 1797. After the coup d’état of 18 Brumaire, an VIII (November 9–10, 1799), Napoleon recalled Latour-Maubourg to France. In 1801 Latour-Maubourg was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Consulate.

3Charles-Pierre Claret Fleurieu, a native of Lyons, had been Minister of the Navy and Colonies in 1790. He was imprisoned during the Terror, but in 1800 he was one of three Frenchmen meeting with Murray, Davie, and Ellsworth in the negotiations for peace between the United States and France.

4Letter not found.

5Stephen LeBreton, a native of France, was a physician in Philadelphia.

6On June 1, 1801, Secretary of State James Madison wrote to Murray recalling him from his position as United States Minister to the Netherlands (copy, RG 59, Diplomatic and Consular Instructions of the Department of State, December 3, 1798–September 28, 1801, “Consular Instructions,” Vol. 1, National Archives). Murray and his wife sailed from Rotterdam to the United States on September 15, 1801, and they arrived at Alexandria, Virginia, on December 2 (Murray to John Quincy Adams, April 3, 1802 [Worthington C. Ford, ed., “Letters of William Vans Murray,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1912 (Washington, 1914), 702–03]).

7Edouard Charles Victurnien, chevalier de Colbert. See H to Murray, July–August, October 9, 1800.

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