Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Henry Lee, 12 August 1791

From Henry Lee1

Alexa. [Virginia] 12th August 1791.

My dear sir

Our parting conversation has deeply employed my mind & I continue to lament exceedingly the existence of any event which puts us even politically opposite.

No man is more warmly attached to his friends than I am; among the first of whom my heart places you. I thoroughly confide in the unstained purity of your principles, altho I feel enmity to the measures flowing from them. I am solicitous for your encreasing fame & yet cannot applaud your system. The superiority of your understanding I am not a stranger to & therefore very often am led to doubt the accuracy of my own conclusions; my consequent apprehensions introduce re-deliberation which always terminates in confirmation of my opinions.

In one thing I am nearly decided, to advocate a patient trial for a few years of the fiscal plan, because by this the harmony of the community will be undisturbed & such alterations may be effected as will go to banish from among us bickerings & discord. Amendments of this nature yourself would surely patronise, because the undivided confidence of a nation is not only highly gratifying to a public minister but is the best foundation for complete success to just & wise measures. I wish I could know your mind on this subject & whether you cannot project a mode which will in our day gradually extinguish a debt which so many abhor & dread. This would cure the hurts of thousands, allay the fury of faction & re-laurel your brow.

I have partly contracted for your riding horse & as soon as I can will forward him to you.

Since my return, in consequence of a conversation with Mr. Cazinove2 I have received a large sum in funded paper & shall send the same as soon as I get the transfer to Mr. Leroy & Bayard3 recommended to me by Mr C to turn into cash.

The money being soon wanted & the price allowed by me very high, disappointment in the agency will be injurious & distressing. Therefore do I take the liberty to request you the moment you read this ltr. to walk to Mr Leroys,4 see my letr. to him & urge him to do the business in the best manner for me, as I am a stranger to him.

By return of the post I expect to receive your reply; if you will then enclose Graysons5 bond, I shall be able to put it on a probable road to paymt.

most affy. yours always

Henry Lee

Col. Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Lee, who was at this time a member of the Virginia Assembly, was elected governor of his state in 1791. Although, as this letter indicates, he objected to some features of H’s economic policies, he remained an enthusiastic Federalist throughout his life.

2Théophile Cazenove, the representative in the United States of a group of Dutch banking houses.

3William Bayard and Herman Le Roy were prominent New York City merchants.

4Le Roy and Bayard had a branch office in Philadelphia at 323 High Street.

5Probably William Grayson of Virginia, who had been an aide to George Washington in the early years of the American Revolution and a delegate to the Continental Congress in the seventeen-eighties. Grayson was a member of the United States Senate from 1789 until his death in March, 1790.

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