Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Elbridge Gerry, Rufus King, George Mathews, Lambert Cadwalader, James Jackson, and John Henry, 6 April 1790

From Elbridge Gerry, Rufus King,
George Mathews, Lambert Cadwalader,
James Jackson, and John Henry1

New york April 6, 1790

The Subscribers appointed on the part of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Burke to consider whether there was an honorable Ground of accomodation between the parties in respect to certain Expressions made use of by Mr. Burke in the house of Representatives on Wednesday last, relatively to an Eulogium pronounced by Mr. Hamilton on general Green on the 4th. of July last, having inquired into the Circumstances, and perused the Letters which were interchanged by those Gentlemen on the first instant are of Opinion that nothing more is necessary to an accomodation between them, than a right understanding of each other.2

As while on the one hand it appears from satisfactory information, that Mr. Burke did not conceive the letter from Mr. Hamilton to amount to an explicit Disavowal of an intention in any part of the Eulogium delivered by him, to cast a reflection upon militia in general, or upon the militia of South Carolina in particular; so on the other from like information it appears to us that it was Mr. Hamilton’s intention in that letter to make such disavowal.

We are therefore of opinion that a proper and honorable ground of accomodation between the Parties will be, that Mr. Hamilton in another letter to Mr. Burke make an explicit declaration of his intention as above understood; and that Mr. Burke in consequence of it make to Mr. Hamilton a full and satisfactory apology for whatever on his part has taken place on the subject offensive to Mr. Hamilton.3

That as considerations resulting from the nature of the precedent in reference to the privileges of the House, render the propriety of the apology in the house questionable, we are farther of Opinion that the apology be made by Letter.

E Gerry.

R. King

Geo Mathews

Lambert Cadwalader

Jas Jackson

J. Henry

The honorable Alexander Hamilton. Esqre.

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Gerry was a Congressman from Massachusetts; King was a Senator from New York; Mathews and Jackson were Congressmen from Georgia; Henry was a Senator from Maryland; and Cadwalader was a Congressman from New Jersey.

2For information on the dispute between Ædanus Burke and H, see the exchange of letters between them on April 1, 1790.

On April 8, 1790, William Smith, a member of the House of Representatives from Maryland, wrote to his son-in-law, Otho H. Williams:

“… the quarrell mentioned to you in my last is accommodated, by arbitration of Six Members of Congress, consisting of both houses.

“The Secy has explained, that he did not mean any reflection on the Militia in general or that of Carolina in particular. Mr. Burke, satisfied with the explanation, is sorry for having made use of any expression that should wound the feelings of the Secy or the house, whether there will be any Statement, or publication of this transaction I Know not.” (Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore.)

Index Entries