Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Jeremiah Wadsworth, [20 August 1787]

To Jeremiah Wadsworth

[New York, August 20, 1787]

My Dear Sir

The inclosed1 is said to be the Copy of a letter circulating in your state. The history of its appearance among us is that it was sent by one Whitmore2 of Stratford, formerly in the Pay Master Generals Office to a James Reynold3 of this City.

I am at a loss clearly to understand its object—and have some suspicion that it has been fabricated to excite jealousy against the Convention with a view to an opposition to their recommendations. At all events I wish if possible to trace its source and send it to you for that purpose. Whitmore must of course say where he got it and by pursuing the information we may at last come at the author. Let me know the political connections of this man and the complexion of the people most active in the circulation of the letter. Be so good as to attend to this inquiry somewhat particularly, as I have different reasons of some moment ⟨for⟩ setting it on foot.

I remain &c


Copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The enclosure was probably a copy of a letter which appeared in The Fairfield [Connecticut] Gazette or The Independent Intelligencer on July 25, 1787. The letter purported to be an “Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia, dated June 19” to someone in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “I am happy to inform you,” the anonymous writer stated, “that by our latest accounts from England, the scheme for a mission, which originated in Connecticut, and which is so agreeable to the people of America, and so manifestly for their interest, meets with a favorable reception from the British Court.” The scheme to which the writer referred was to invite the second son of George III, Frederick, Duke of York, who was the secular Bishop of Osnaburgh, part of the Bishopric of Münster, to become king of the United States. The writer in The Gazette argued that the members of the Constitutional Convention “have the subject in their deliberation, and are harmonious in their opinions; the means only of accomplishing so great an event, appears principally to occupy their counsels.” An account of the plan to establish a monarchy was also published by two Philadelphia papers—The Pennsylvania Gazette, August 15, 1787, and The Pennsylvania Journal, August 22, 1787.

2Presumably Hezekiah Wetmore who, during the American Revolution, was deputy paymaster general. Information on Wetmore is contained in Wadsworth’s reply to H’s letter, dated August 26, 1787.

3James Reynolds was the husband of the woman with whom H later had a much publicized affair.

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