Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 3 January 1791

From James McHenry1

Baltimore 3 Jany. 1791.

My dear Sir.

You may think I have neglected you from my long silence, but I can assure you I have never forgot you. Having withdrawn myself from every thing of a public nature, this has led me to endeavour to reduce my pleasures as much as possible to a small compass, and this to neglect many correspondents for whom I entertain the liveliest affection. That I love and esteem you, I know you will believe without my repeating it. Your career as yet has been glorious. I wish sincerely that nothing adverse may interrupt it.

You owe this short reassurance of my regards to Capn. Barney2 who has a desire to be personally known to you. I introduce him with pleasure. He is a man of many valuable qualities, and well-known for his distinguished services during the war. As yet however he is to receive his reward. I believe he goes up to Congress with the intention to petition for commutation, on the expences incurred in his captivity.3

Pray present me to Mrs. Hamilton. I have learned from a friend of yours that she has as far as the comparison will hold as much merit as your treasurer as you have as treasurer of the wealth of the United States.

Adieu my dear Secretary and believe me unchangeably yours

James McHenry

I approve of your bank plan.4 I see you have accommodated a little but it is under such restrictions ⟨— c⟩annot let it injure.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1McHenry, who had served on George Washington’s staff during the Revolution, had been a delegate from Maryland to the Constitutional Convention and had served as a member of the Maryland Ratifying Convention. From 1783 to 1786 he served in the Continental Congress, and before his election to the Maryland Senate in the fall of 1791, he served in the state Assembly.

2Joshua Barney of Baltimore, a ship captain, had been appointed vendue master of Maryland in 1789.

3The British captured Barney’s vessel, the Saratoga, in 1780 and confined him in an English prison for almost a year. He then escaped to France and returned to the United States. His petition was presented in the House of Representatives on January 12, 1791, but the bill to compensate him was defeated (Journal of the House, I description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States (Washington, 1826). description ends , 353, 385).

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