Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, 2 September [1793]

From George Washington

Monday Morning 2d Sepr. [1793]

Dear Sir,

Interwoven in the enclosed Address, are Sentiments as difficult to answer, as it would seem odd to pass unnoticed1—believing, as I do, that they are the sentiments of a large part of the people of this Country.

I would thank you for making such alterations in the expression of the draft of an answer (enclosed) as in your judgment will make it palatable on all sides, or unexceptionable. The bearer will wait, as I wish to return the answer by the Mail of today.

Yours always

Go: Washington

No matter how rough the answer comes to me, so it can be read.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Presumably this letter was written to request H to prepare a reply to an address to the President from the citizens of New London, Connecticut, August 22, 1793, expressing approval of the Administration’s neutrality policy. A copy of this address may be found in the George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. Washington’s reply to the address, dated September 2, 1793, is printed in GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXXIII, 80–81. No draft in H’s writing has been found.

The address reads in part: “We readily acknowledge that the medling in political concerns by Bodies of people unorganized by Law for the purpose ought generally to be discountenanced by good Citizens.… We hesitate not, Sir, to avow that our feelings take a decided part in favour of the French Nation: we regard them as the Nation who were our first & firmest friends in an hour of distress, and as a people fighting against Oppressors in defence of the Rights of Men … yet we conceive that it would be the heighth of Folly & Madness for the United States unnecessarily to engage in the war: should the Legislature however determine otherwise, it would be our duty to submit; but untill this determination is made by them the Laws of Neutrality ought unquestionably to be as sacredly observed as if the people of the United States were wholly indifferent in their attachment to the Nations engaged in the war.…”

In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , VI, 35, the letter printed above is dated September 2, 1795.

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