Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from David Ross, 23 November 1792

From David Ross1

Bladensbg [Maryland] Novr. 23d 1792


I am obliged to you for gratifying my request by sending me a Copy of Co. Mercers letter and of the Certificates of Mr. Hill and Mr. Crawford as it gives me an opportunity of removing any improper impressions that may be made on those who are unacquainted with all the circumstances.2

It was taken for granted Co Mercer would deny his charges if ever he should be seriously called on to support them and you will see I advised him to do it or to fritter them away when he could have done it with rather a better grace—but I did not expect he would assume the appearance as he does by his Queries of wishing it believed he had spoken rather honourably of you than otherwise and that he had only found fault with some of the measures of the Administration—of which he considered you in his Speeches I heard as the author and effected by your undue influence over certain members of Congress—and with respect to the purchase of the Debt on account of the Publick I took it for granted from what he said till I received your letter and read the law that you was by the law constituted the sole and direct purchaser as he spoke of you as such & took no notice of any Board3 or that you had done it indirectly as he insinuates in his letter to you. For if he had I should also have taken notice in my Publications of the unjust inference he must necessarily have intended should be drawn against the President as well as the other four Gentlemen that they were under your undue influence—but that he has expressed this Sentiment at other places appears by the enclosed Certificates4 at least as to two of the Gentlemen of the Board.

That Co Mercer has in his Speeches attacked & admitted he had attacked your Integrity and that too in terms more direct than I was acquainted with till on my late particular enquiry, appears from the Certificates of Mr John Worthington5 and Captain Campbell,6 and the impressions he appears by the other Certificates to have wished to have made against you and which alone may be sufficient to satisfy you as to the truth of it. Yet I must add some observations on my own account as to what he said at Marlborough to prevent any unjust inference that might otherwise be drawn that I had either misapprehended or misrepresented what he said at that particular place.

I did not apprehend Co Mercer that you was a buyer of Stock with your own money but that as the immediate Purchaser for the Publick you had bought so as to benefit a particular set of men with whom you was privately connected so that in effect you was at the same time both buyer and seller of Stock.

I understand Mr Hill and Mr Crawford7 both voted for Co Mercer altho he leaves you to infer otherwise yet I have not the most distant inclination to ascribe their Certificates in his language to “wickedness” or even to improper motives but justice to myself obliges me to show truly my own idea of them that they were derived from inattention and that if there has been any misapprehension of what Co Mercer said at Marlborough it is rather on their part than on mine.8 I am induced to conclude it was from inattention only, and not coupling the whole of his Speech together as I cannot suppose they had not understanding enough if they had been attentive to his whole speech to descern that his praise of you was that of Anthony to Brutus. And I admit that if I had not taken his whole speech together but had happened to have had my attention called off at particular times and have had it engrossed by that part of it wherein he professed to have been in the habits of intimacy and friendship in the Army and to have even then a very high respect for your abilities; I could certify myself as these Gentlemen have done that he had spoken of you in an honourable manner—but the taking together the whole of his Speech at Marlborough only must I apprehend have compelled every one that heard him with attention to consider this only as proceeding from the art of a Popular Speaker with a design to impress his Audience with an idea of his own Impartiality that his censure might thereby acquire a double force and that the People might be induced to believe that facts and the public Good alone could have induced him to speak in the manner he did against one for whom he had otherwise a friendship & respeck. And I can the more readily conclude his censure of you at Marlborough had escaped the attention of these Gentlemen from a circumstance respecting myself for Co Mercers insinuation agt the President by his observation on General Waynes appointment to the Western Army had escaped me9 & consequently not taken notice of in my Publications till after I was reminded of it by Major Snowden10 and Mr. John Thomas of Susquehanna who happened to be present. And as to his praise and speaking highly of you in private conversation it could only be with the same view of giving force to his censure unless it might be with a design also of making the very use of it, he now has done if ever he should be called on as to charges he cannot support. And that every unfavourable impression was made even on Mr Hill himself as to your views and conduct as an officer if not as to your Integrity is evident from his own observation to a Gentleman that he was for sending Co Mercer to Congress if it was only to watch the Secretary of the Treasury and the observation of others was what a bad man the Secretary must be if what Co Mercer says is true. But the impressions that were made to your prejudice are wearing off fast and will be entirely removed when it comes to be Publickly known that he has denied having impeached your Integrity but only the Policy of some of the measures of the Administration. These Certificates of Mr Hill and Mr Crawford, also confirm the propriety of my wish to get every thing fixed in writing that there might be no dispute as to what was said. For did not Co. Mercer (as he admits by his Publication) answer when I represented to him the impropriety of charging you without producing some proof, that he thought himself justifiable in saying every thing he believed of you because he could trace the opposition to his election up to yourself, thus supporting his former charges as well as bringing forward a new one instead of seting me right if I had misapprehended him. This was soon after he spoke at Marlborough and before his Speech at Bladensburgh. Therefore can any one believe that Co Mercer could be your friend and could wish to make impressions honourable to you and that there was only a difference of Judgment between you as to the measures of Government when at the very time he spoke at Marlborough he himself thought you was his enemy and had acted so improperly towards him as well as the Publick that altho an officer of the General Government you had meddled in our State election and that too in opposition to himself. And if he had not have intended to charge your Integrity why did he not rectify the mistake as to his intentions, also, on the receipt of your letter in the presence of several Gentlemen instead of making a serious and most direct charge against you of having offered him a bribe to vote for the assumption or at least that you had made the offer to him in such terms that he had a right to take you in jest or earnest which appears by the Certificate of Mr Cramphin11 which I now send forward and the Certificates of Mr Bayley which I understand has been already forwarded but if it has not on your informing me I will procure it but I do not think I ought to delay this letter for that purpose.12 It may be proper to mention that I have understood some of Co Mercers friends incline to turn the contents of these Certificates into a joke and that he did not mean any thing unfavourable agt you—but they will find it impossible when they consider the very particular time of making the charge it being on the receipt of your letter calling on him to do you justice by stating what he really did say of you13—the painting his own distress for want of money and that you knew this his distress—and when they consider the impressions he made on those present as appears by Mr Cramphins Certificate—and one observed as I am informed what do you think of the Secretary now—and another on being asked if he thought you was in earnest answered he had no doubt you would have given the Money if Co Mercer would have received it—and expressly and at a different time by his own answer to Mr Bayley that your proposition to him was in such terms that he had a right to take you in jest or earnest. Mr Walter Chandler who was present and may be able to give you additional evidence on this particular subject, I hear is now in Philadelphia.

As concurrent circumstances may perhaps have more weight than charges of the greatest importance agt Co Mercers conduct with those who have no opportunity of informing themselves and who might suppose that what he is alledged to have charged against you has originated in party only where truth is too often sacrificed to the object in view—therefore I shall observe should such a Hero as Co. Mercer represents himself to be, refuse as he does in his Publication14 to do justice to the innocent Members of Congress for fear of bringing 24 quarrels on his head by giving the names of those corrupt Members who he says are under your influence—on his principle I should have suffered the minds of the People to be poisoned by him against the measures of Government and those who are entrusted with the Administration to be traduced, in silence through fear of his denunciations against his opponents—and that his denunciation was general agt. those that should oppose his election. I have since seen a Certificate of a Gentleman which can be had if necessary. He also asserts in his off hand Reply that “it can be affirmatively proved by 200 or 300 persons present a Marlborough” and this relates to his assertion that he there called Capt Campbell a liar rascal and coward whereas I was there ’till both left the place and heard nothing of it nor have I seen anyone that heard him call Capt Campbell so and every one will presume that if it had been the case only before 2 or 3 it must have had an immediate circulation among all the People. And what could he mean by calling you a mushroom excrescence but that you had jumped into wealth by means of an office you was not entitled to. Or why should he have observed at Marlborough that he knew you when you had not a second shirt to your back if he did not mean some impression to your prejudice should remain notwithstanding he told us at the same time that he did not mean it as a reflection and that it was in the retreat through the Jerseys, when he was nearly in the same situation himself. In his Publication he says “a full detail of these and other curious circumstances (relative to Capt Campbell) is lodged with the Printers” and I was much surprised when I applied the 15 Novr. for a Copy of this detail to be informed by the Gentlemen of the office that no such thing was ever lodged and that on observing this assertion in his Publication a note was sent him from the office that no such detail was lodged and his reply was that it was not ready. He calls your official letter to the Contractor a private correspondence a Copy of which I enclose15 and which Capt Campbell procured from the office for the purpose mentioned in his answer to me and does he not wish from his Publication, that it should be considered a letter as having relation to his election. It may not be improper to observe as he calls some of his opponents a desperate Banditti16 that there was respectability of character against Co Mercers election in the district at large and in Annapolis the place of his residence there was not only respectability but a considerable number for the place and also a small Majority in his own County at large agt him notwithstanding all his fine Speeches for which he says he received such shouts of applause so that it turned out as I concluded that it only required a knowledge of the man or the subject to defeat all his oratorial powers of Imposition.

I hear Co Mercer has gone on to Congress and as I do not wish to lose another Post in Copying this and the Vouchers I must request you will let Co Mercer have Copies of them. I shall send a Copy of this letter to Mr Hill & Mr Crawford that they may be thereby enabled to put in a different point of view with respect to themselves anything they may suppose has been misapprehended by

Your friend & obedt Servt.

David Ross

Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2The letter in which Ross sent H the enclosures has not been found. The enclosures, however, included Mercer to H, October 16, 1792, and the certificates of Clement Hill and David Craufurd which accompanied that letter.

3Section 2 of “An Act making Provision for the Reduction of the Public Debt” provided that purchases of the public debt should be made by a board of commissioners of the sinking fund consisting of “the President of the Senate, the Chief Justice, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, and the Attorney General for the time being, and who, or any three of whom, with the approbation of the President of the United States, shall cause the said purchases to be made in such a manner, and under such regulations as shall appear to them best calculated to fulfill the intent of this act” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 186 [August 12, 1790]).

4The enclosures to this letter were: Ross to Charles Wallace, John Davidson, and Major John Davidson, November 14, 1792 (copy, in the handwriting of Ross, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Ross to William Campbell, November 14, 1792 (copy, in the handwriting of Ross, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Ross to William Pinkney, November 18, 1792 (copy, in the handwriting of Ross, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Ross to Philip Barton Key, November 13, 1792 (copy, in the handwriting of Ross, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Campbell to Ross, November 18, 1792 (LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Major John Davidson to Ross, November 17, 1792 (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Key to Ross, November 17, 1792 (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); John G. Worthington to Ross, November 17, 1792 (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Thomas Cramphin to Ross, November 21, 1792 (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); two statements by Cramphin, October 5 and November 21, 1792 (ADS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

5Worthington’s statement reads as follows:

“In answer to your Letter of the 14th. Instant, wherein you have requested a Relation, of what I may recollect of Colo. Mercer’s Declarations at several public Meetings, during the contested Election in this District, touching the Conduct of the Secretary of the Treasury of the united States, I will with as much Accuracy and Precision, as I possibly can, briefly relate such Declarations as were made by Colo. Mercer in my Presence, at the several public Meetings I attended during the Period aforesaid, as have Relation to the Conduct of the Secretary of the Treasury. Sometime early in the month of September, I was present at a Meeting of the Citizens of Annapolis, called by Capt. [William] Campbell for the Purpose of stating his objections to Colo. Mercer (who was also present) with a View, to show that he was an improper Character to represent again, this District in Congress. Capt. Campbell observed among other objections to Colo. Mercer, that one great Cause of Objection with him, was, that he thought Col. Mercer unfriendly to the Government of the united States, and that his Declarations with Respect to the Secretary of the Treasury, a Man high in Office, had a tendency to destroy the Confidence of the People in, and to render them dissatisfied with the Administration of the general Government, and then, to show why he thought so, he related a Conversation which had taken Place between him, and Colo. Mercer, sometime in the early Part of the Summer; which I will here substantially give. Capt. Campbell observed, that Colo. Mercer had said, that he thought, or had no Doubt, but that the S. of the Treasury was concerned in private Speculations, and that he was friendly to the Interest of Speculators, that he the S. of the Treasury, had as a public Officer, given for Stock, three or four Shillings in the Pound, more than, what it sold for in the Market. Capt. Campbell said, that he then observed, that if this was the Case, the S. was not the only Person to be blamed; but the Board, and that Colo. Mercer answered, that the P. of the united States had declined having any Thing to do in the Business, and that the S. of the T. had been supported by the President of the Senate, and Mr. [John] Jay in opposition to the Secretary of State, and the Atty. General, and that he, the S. of the Treasury was the only chief agent in purchasing the Debt of the U. States under the Act of Congress, and that, therefore he was to blame, and that Mr. Jay had authorised the S. of the T. to vote as his Proxy, and as he thought proper upon one occasion, when the S. wanted an appropriation of Money, and that, therefore 200,000 Dollars were appropriated, in Opposition to the Opinion of the S. of State and the Atty. Genl. which shew that the S. of the Treasury was the governing Person.

“Capt. Campbell observed, that Colo. Mercer mentioned another Thing, which induced him to believe, that the S. of the Treasury was concerned with others in Speculation, which was this, that [Robert] Elliott and [Elie] Williams, the Original Contractors, for Supplies to the western Army, and Theodoseus Fowler, had made their Terms to the S., nearly the same, and that the S. accepted of Fowlers, who was a Friend to [William] Duer, and that he took [John] Cockran and [Walter] Livingston as Fowler’s Securities, who were Friends of Duer’s, and that soon after the S. of the T., suffered in his Office, the Contract to be assigned to Duer, and that he considered Duer thereafter as responsible for Performance of the Contract, and that all advances of Money were made to him in Consequence of the assignment of the Contract, and which was converted to the Purposes of Speculation, instead of being applied to procure Supplies for the Army. Capt. Campbell after having stated this Conversation, procured a Copy of a Letter from the Secretary’s office, in answer to one, written by Duer to the S., wherein it appeared that the S. considered Duer, only as the Agent of Theodoceus Fowler, and not as the Person responsible for the Performance of the Contract, as had been alledged by Colo. Mercer, as stated by Capt. Campbell, a Copy of which Letter, Colo. Mercer requested, observing he would have probably Occasion for it hereafter. The Charges which Capt. Campbell mentioned to have been made by Colo. Mercer against the S. of the T. in their Conversation, and here related by him, were not denied by Colo. Mercer, before this Meeting, that I heard, but on the contrary, that the Statement of Capt. Campbell was acceded to. On Friday the 14th. of Septr. last, I was also present when Colo. Mercer addressed a Number of the Citizens of Anne Arundel County upon Elk Ridge, and in the course of his Address observed, as well as I recollect, that the S. of T. acting under the Authority of Law, and being entrusted with the public Money, for the Purpose of purchasing the Debt of the U: States, had given for stock 20/. when it was selling in the Market at 18/. when he could have bought it at 14/. in the Pound, and mentioned, that he thought, or had no Doubt (or words to that Effect) that the S. of the T. was connected with, and concerned with others, in speculating in the public Debt and that he was a Friend to Speculation. There were a number of other Declarations fell from Colo. Mercer, which appeared to be calculated to inspire into the minds of the People, a Jealousy and Distrust of the S. of the T. as a public Officer, and to exhibit him as the most dangerous Man in the Government; such as, that he the S. of the T. through his Influence, had fixed upon the People of America, a Tax above all others the most odious, mentioning the Excise, and that he was a Man of so much Influence in the Government, that there were a Number of the Members of Congress, mentioning I think, twenty four, who were always ready to carry into Effect, any Measures, which might be proposed by the S. of the T., and that it became a common Practice in Congress by those Members, when any Measures were proposed respecting the Treasury Department, to ask, whether Hamilton had seen and approved of them, and if answered in the affirmative, they would immediately reply I shall then be for them—after having thus depicted him, as a Man of dangerous Influence in the Government, it was his own Declaration, in nearly the following emphatic words, which caused the preceding Declarations with Respect to the S. of the T., to make probably the deeper Impression on my Mind, to wit, that he Colo. Mercer, was the only Man, who would dare to stand up on the Floor of Congress, and call in question the Conduct of the S. of the T., and that an Opposition or free Discussion of the Conduct of a Man, or Men like him, holding Offices of high Trust, and possessing great Influence in a free Government, was the only Oil, that could keep alive, the Lamp of Liberty.” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.)

Ross added the following note at the bottom of this letter: “Mem. I have mislaid my letter to him which was induced by understanding he had taken Notes of Co Mercers Speech on Elk-ridge—he is modest bred to the Law & in the present assembly.”

6Campbell’s statement reads as follows:

“In answer to your letter of the 14 Inst. I will relate a Conversation with Colo Mercer which of itself lent Evidence whether he designed to impeach the Integrity of the Secretary of the Treasury or not. After I had declar’d myself a Candidate in opposition to Colo. mercer we had in June last some Conversation on the subject, at which time, I told him his conduct towards the secretary of the Treasury was one of my Objections to him, that I found considerable prejudices against that officer were sedulously instilled into the minds of the people, very highly injurious to the Interests of Government and which I thought were propagated by himself and warmly enforced by his leading Friends in this District. I further stated that he had impressed an Opinion in the District, that the Secretary was making an improper use of public money to promote Speculations or the Interest of Speculators with whom he was concerned, and observed to him at the same time that I believed the Secretary had taken an Oath that he would not be concerned directly or indirectly in purchases of public Debts. Colo. Mercer in reply observed that he had no doubt the Secretary was in some manner interested that he had given four Shillings in the pound for Stock more than the market price, that a Speculator could buy 3 ⅌ Cts @ from 10/ to 10/6 at public auction, and next day sell to the secretary @ 12/; that some alleged this Conduct was to promote the Interest of his Father in law, (Genl. [Philip] Schuyler) but that such strong Circumstances had been communicated to him as to induce him to suspect he had a farther and more immediate Interest in the Business. That Mr. Thomas Fitzsimmons had inform’d him, that during the second session of Congress, Duer, assistant to the secretary, carried his Speculations to such extent as to prevent any Claimant scarcely getting an account passed against the United States, or at least to cause such delay and difficulty in their Business as to oblige almost every one to sell his Claim for whatever could be obtained for it, and that he, Duer, had always his Emissaries ready to become the purchasors. That this Conduct excited an Enquiry by Congress and that he Fitzsimmons as one of the Committee for that purpose, after an Investigation, waited on the Secretary and informed him, he must dismiss Duer, or they would be obliged to report unfavorably, and that accordingly, Duer was in a few days dismissed. In Answer to what Colo. Mercer had said respecting the purchase of a 3 ⅌ Cent Stock, I replied that if there was any Censure due on that Subject, it was applicable to the board, which had been appointed, under the controul of the president, to dispose of the sinking funds, and not the Secretary alone, to which Colo. Mercer observed that it was well known the President had declined having any thing to do with the Execution of that Law, that the Secretary of State and the attorney General of the United States were opposed to the appropriations and purchases as made, but that the Secretary of the Treasury was always supported by the two eastern members and that on a particular occasion when the Secretary of the Treasury wished an appropriation of Money and the Secretary of State and the attorney General were opposed to his Views, he wrote to Mr. Jay who was at new york, requesting his attendance at the board of Commissioners, and that instead of attending he wrote a Letter authorizing him as his Proxy to vote as he thought proper on the occasion and that 200,000 Dollars were immediately appropriated, one half thereof to be laid out in New York, and the remainder at Phila. and elsewhere. Colo. Mercer also added that the two eastern Members of the board had always been governed by the Secretary of the Treasury and that therefore, he thought it proper that he, the Secretary should be considered as the author of every thing that had been done and ought to bear the blame. Colo. Mercer added that another Circumstance led him to believe that the secretaries private Interest, was in some manner concerned with his public Measures—that Messrs. Williams and Elliott, who were the former Contractors, and Theodosius Fowler had given their propositions for the Contract for supplies to the western army, which were nearly the same that the Secretary of the Treasury had preferred the latter, who was an intimate Friend of Duers and that Mr. Cochran and Mr. Livingston who were also bosom friends of Duers, were taken as Securities for performance of the Contract and very shortly afterwards the secretary suffered an assignment of the Contract to be made to Duer, in his office, who was always thereafter considered as the accountable person, and received all the Money that was advanced on account of the Contract which, instead of being applied to the performance thereof, was devoted to Speculations, whereby the western Army had suffered to such a Degree as in all probability to occasion our Misfortunes in that Quarter. Colo. Mercer wished to impress an Idea that the secretary had originally intended the Contract for Duer, and that Fowler and his securities were only made use of to blind the public which the subsequent assignment tended to show as I had heard the secretary censured on this subject, I applied for Copies of the assignment and Letters that had passed between the secretary and Mr. Duer, in order to contradict their assertions on this subject, and obtained them. In September last I called a meeting of the Citizens of Annapolis which Colo. Mercer attended. I then stated the Conversation here related as part of my Charges against him who I conceived wished to destroy the Confidence of the people in the Government by depreciating the Merit of one of its first Officers. He publickly justified the Charge, adding in his History of Duer’s Conduct with respect to public Claimants, that a brokers Office was kept next door to the secretarys office for the purpose of buying up their Claims.

“To obviate the Colos. Charge with respect to the Contract assigned to Duer, which he then repeated and justified, as true, I produced the Letter of which I enclose you a copy, and read it to the people; Colo. Mercer requested a perusal of it. I gave it [to] him to read, and he declared he was pleased to see it, as it had not been produced before, and could hereafter be made further use of. Colo. Mercer I find has since spoken of this letter as a copy of one of private Correspondence, and as a proof of the Secretary’s interference in his Election. It is in truth a Letter of public access to any Gentleman solicitous of obtaining it, at least I have always supposed so, and so far from being Confidential to me, I have never written or spoken to the Secretary in my Life, directly or indirectly, of which I have more than once informed Colo. Mercer.

“Lest my opposition to Colo. Mercer may be supposed to lend a false colouring to the expressions made use of by him, I will thank you to apply to several respectable persons who were present at that meeting of the Citizens, I have herein alluded to, and am certain that what I have said will be substantially authenticated.” (LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.)

7Mercer had enclosed copies of statements from Clement Hill and David Craufurd in Mercer to H, October 16–28, 1792.

8In his statement to Mercer, dated October 22, 1792, Craufurd stated that he had “heard Colo. Mercer speak of the Secretary both in private conversation and in a public address to the Inhabitants of this (Meaning Prince Georges County) at the Court house, and I never heard him at either time or in either place say any thing disrespectfully of the Secretarys Character but on the contrary he spoke highly of him as a private Gentleman Colo. Mercer indeed condemn’d the Secretary’s conduct as a public officer particularly his purchasing in Stock—which I think he thus explain’d that the Secretary could have purchas’d in at two shillings in the pound less than he gave—this Measure Colo. Mercer very much reprobated, and added the United States lost very considerably by such conduct, but throughout the whole of this address he never spoke of the Secretary as a public Officer” (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). Hill corroborated Craufurd’s statement (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

9Major General Anthony Wayne had been appointed in April, 1792, to the command of the newly reorganized United States Army in preparation for a new campaign against the western Indians.

10This is a reference to either Francis Snowden or Thomas Snowden.

11Ross had quoted portions of Thomas Cramphin’s certificate of October 5, 1792, in his letter to H of October 5–10, 1792. In a letter to Ross dated November 21, 1792, Cramphin added the following statement: “Since I gave my Certificate of the 5th of October last I mentioned to you some other expressions of Colo. Mercer’s, which you requested me to commit to writing, they were as well as my Memory serves me in the following words—Colo. Mercer on the 2d of October after expressing himself in the manner mentioned in my Certificate of the 5th of same month added in the following words ‘I was much pushed for Money at the time, for I had a Credit on the Bank, the day of payment was nigh at hand, and had it not been for a Friend I shou’d certainly have been noted and published. Money therefore wou’d have been very acceptable to me at the time, and I have not a doubt but my situation was known.’ You are at liberty to make what use you please of this Letter” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

12For William Bayly’s certificate, see H to Mercer, September 26, 1792, note 16. A copy of Bayly’s certificate had been sent to H by Uriah Forrest on November 7, 1792.

14See the introductory note to H to Mercer, September 26, 1792.

15See H to William Duer, April 7, 1791. For background to this contract, see “Contract for Army Rations,” October 28, 1790, note 2. H to Duer, April 7, 1791, note 4.

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