Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Jeremiah Wadsworth, 8 November 1789

To Jeremiah Wadsworth

New York Novemr 8th. 1789

My Dear Sir

Mr Pomeroy1 has delivered me your Letter of the 4th Instant.2

It is doubtless of very great consequence to break up the Gang you mention;3 and expence for that purpose ought not to be spared. As you are at the source of information, may I request you to undertake the management of the business, and to furnish whatever money may be requisite for pursuing it with effect, drewing upon me for the amount. You may also promise such reward for apprehending each of them as shall appear to you a Sufficient inducement; which I will pay, relying on a provision for reimbursement.

Mr. Pomeroy thinks the best plan will be to liberate Willard4 and let him go with some trusty persons to act as a decoy; giving out that he has escaped. I confess I Should expect that the event of this would be, that he would escape in good earnest, leaving us in the lurch.

Would it not be better to engage him to point out some fit person for the undertaking, on whose exertions he is willing to stake his own Life; telling him that if Crane5 can be taken by his means he will be pardonned and rewarded; otherwise he will suffer the extremities of the Law. As your Laws do not annex death to the crime in question, he may be given to understand, that he will be brought into this state for trial. But all is submitted to your judgment.

Crane appears to be the principal in the misshief. He is therefore the man to whom chiefly we ought to direct our attention, and for whom the chief reward must be offered.6 If taken, and any offence committed in this state can be traced, directions should be given to bring the Culprits in to this state

I remain   Dear sir   Your Obt hble servt

A Hamilton

The Honble Jeremiah Wadsworth Esqr

LS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford; ALS, The Sol Feinstone Collection, Library of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia. This letter contains a postscript which was cut from the copy printed in PAH, V. The postscript reads: "P.S. Our dear friend Mrs. Church sailed by the last Packet. She desired me to inform you of this with her affectionate remembrances. She goes fully determined if possible to return."

1Ralph Pomeroy, a Hartford merchant, had been appointed comptroller of the public accounts of Connecticut to replace Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

2Letter not found.

3The “gang” was engaged in counterfeiting notes of the Bank of New York. See Wadsworth to H, December 17, 1789, and H to Joseph Howell, Jr., March 3, 1790.

4Obviously one of the counterfeiters.

5Presumably Francis Crane.

6Crane had escaped to Vermont. See Wadsworth to H, December 17, 1789.

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