Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, 21 September 1790

To George Washington

New York septemr. 21st 1790.


Doctor Craigie1 has communicated to me, a letter from Mr. Daniel Parker to him, dated, London the 12th of July, which mentions that he had just seen Mr. De Miranda,2 who had recently conversed with the Marquis Del Campo,3 from whom he had learnt that the Court of Spain had acceded to our right of navigating the Mississippi.

Col: Smith4 has also read to me a passage out of another letter of the 6th of July, which mentions, that orders had been sent to the Vice Roy of Mexico and the Governor of New Orleans, not to interrupt the passage of Vessels of the United States through that river.

It is probable that other communications will have ascertained to you, whether there be any and what foundation for this intelligence; but I have thought it adviseable notwithstanding to impart it to you.

The reports from Europe favour more and more the idea of peace.5 They are however not conclusive, and not entirely correspondent.

Captain Watson of the ship New York, who left London the 28th of July and Torbay6 the 16th or 17th of August, informs that the evening preceding her departure from Torbay, he was informed by different Officers of the fleet, that peace between Britain and Spain had taken place7 and had been notified by Mr. Pitt, in a letter to the Lord Mayor of London; of which an account had arrived that Evening. He had however seen no papers containing the account. And the press of Seamen had continued down to the same evening.

On the other hand, Capt. Hunter of the ship George, who left St. Andero8 the 8th of August, affirms that vigorous preparations for War were still going on at that port.

I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect and truest attachment  sir  Yr. most ob. & hume. servt.

Alexander Hamilton

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Andrew Craigie of Cambridge, Massachusetts, had been apothecary general of the Revolutionary Army. During the war he was also a successful speculator who acquired a large fortune. He subsequently was a business associate in various speculative enterprises with William Duer and Daniel Parker.

2Francisco de Miranda was a Latin-American soldier and adventurer who had served with the French in the American War of Independence. After the war, he devoted his energies to promoting Latin-American independence. Following a visit to the United States (where he became friendly with H), he went to Europe. In 1790, he was in England hoping to exploit the differences between England and Spain that had been caused by the Nootka Sound crisis.

3Bernardo del Campo was Spanish Minister to Great Britain.

4Presumably William Stephens Smith, John Adams’s son-in-law. Smith, who had been a lieutenant colonel during the American Revolution, was a close friend of Miranda and had toured Europe with him in the seventeen-eighties.

5This is a reference to rumors concerning the settlement of the Nootka Sound controversy between England and Spain.

6Tor Bay, an arm of the English Channel in southwestern England.

7A preliminary agreement was signed at Madrid on July 24, 1790.

8St. Andero is located in the province of Asturias in northern Spain.

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