Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Thomas Jefferson, [16 June 1790]

To Thomas Jefferson

[New York, June 16, 1790]1

Mr. Hamilton presents his Compliments to Mr. Jefferson. He has perused with much satisfaction the draft of his report on the subject of weights and measures.2 There is no view which Mr. H has yet taken of the matter which stands opposed to the alteration of the money-unit as at present contemplated by the regulations of Congress either in the way suggested in the report or in that mentioned in the note of yesterday. And there are certainly strong reasons to render a correspondency desireable. The idea of a general standard among nations, as in the proposal of the Bishop D Autun3 seems full of convenience & order.

AL, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress.

1Henry Cabot Lodge (HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , IV, 3) and John C. Hamilton (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851). description ends , IV, 23) date this letter June 13, 1790.

2In the JCH Transcripts description begins John C. Hamilton Transcripts. These transcripts are owned by Mr. William H. Swan, Hampton Bays, New York, and have been placed on loan in the Columbia University Libraries. description ends , the beginning of this letter reads: “Mr. H The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to acknowledge the reception of the Report of the Secretary of state on the subject of Measures Weights & Coins.”

3Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, Bishop of Autun, in March, 1790, presented a proposal to the National Assembly for standardizing the French system of weights and measures. He also suggested the creation of a joint Anglo-French commission, consisting of members of the French Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society, to develop a common standard for both nations. Talleyrand enclosed his plan to Sir John Riggs Miller, under whose direction the British Parliament was considering the problem of standardization. At the same time the French Minister in London informed the British Ministry of the proposal. The British, however, rejected the French offer, and the National Assembly enacted a new standard that was based on Talleyrand’s plan.

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