Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Hugh Williamson, 24 October 1793

From Hugh Williamson

New York 24th Octr: 1793.

Dear Sir

Instead of sending a Power of Attorney to any Person to sell any Part of my funded Stock I have thought of a Mode that will be attended with less Trouble viz by the inclosed Letter I have requested of Mr Meyer1 to transfer the whole of my funded Stock to the Books of the Loan Office in the State of New York. Whenever the Stock arrives here I shall sell such Part as Necessity or other Circumstances may indicate. If the original Certificates must be had in Order to be cancelled you will be so good as take them out of my Trunk.2 They are all tyed up in one File.

Yesterday a Gentleman in this City at whose house I made a Visit informed me that the News Paper then on the Table contain’d a very sensible spirited Letter from Mr: Genet to the Govr of S: Carolina3 which he wished me to read. When I had read the Letter he seemed in Silence to expect my Opinion & my approbation. I told him that I had read no Information from the Letter nor did it seem to contain any Defence of Mr Genets Conduct nor any direct Denyal of the common Charge that he had threatened to appeal to the People from the Decisions of the President. Mr Genet, said I, seems only to have said to the Governor “The President is surrounded and bewildered by Messrs Hamilton Jefferson & Knox who are Rascals Lyars and Puppies beneath my Notice. They are in the Service of Great Britain and about to ruin the Country, but I shall apply to the Congress, expose their Treachery & have them hanged.” Although he admitted that my Copy retained the leading Features of the Original, it was not such a Figure as he expected & further Praise of Mr. Genet was not required.

By the way, it is said & much believed in Town that Genet is going to be marryed to Miss Clinton.4 I hope the Story is true. The Result I think would, in a Year or two, have a favourable influence of the Politics of this State.

I am Dear Sir   With great Regard   Your most obedt and very hble Servt

Hu Williamson

P:S: Since writing the above I learn that Mr. Genet is a marryed man having 2 Children,5 consequently the above Fable is founded on the great Attention he pays to Govr Clinton for the sake of gaining anti-federal Interest.

Alex Hamilton Esqr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1John Meyer was a principal clerk in the Treasury Department. A copy of Williamson’s letter to Meyer, in Williamson’s handwriting and dated October 24, 1793, is in the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

3This letter concerned Genet’s alleged “appeal to the people.” See “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on the Case of the Little Sarah,” July 8, 1793, note 2; the introductory note to H to Rufus King, August 13, 1793. On September 5, 1793, Governor William Moultrie of South Carolina had addressed a public letter to Genet requesting a statement as to the truth of the charge (The NewYork Journal, & Patriotic Register, October 23, 1793). On October 15 Genet made a public reply to Moultrie which reads in part as follows: “It is to Congress that I shall address myself through the medium of the executive of the United States to ask the severest examination of all my official measures and of every particular step which may be supposed to have been an attempt upon the established authority of the American Republic. I shall conceal nothing, sir, from that august body. I shall place under the inspection of every member my instructions, my correspondence, and my conferrences with the federal government; my correspondence with the French government, the instructions to the consuls of the Republic and my correspondence with them; and I hope that the result of the examination of these documents, and the analysis of the pretended threat imputed to me of appealing to the people, will be a thorough conviction, that if I have spoken to your government with the energy of a freeman, with the enthusiasm which at this day inspires and animates every Frenchman really attached to his country; if I have complained officially, and in no other way of the conduct of certain officers of the federal government, whose intentions appear to me both destructive of liberty and favorable to our enemies; if I have declared that their tameness, that their small measures in the common danger, which menaces free nations, did not appear to me to be consistent with the sentiments of their fellow-citizens, with the true interest of their country; if I have expressed, without disguise, my grief at seeing General Washington, that celebrated hero of liberty, accessible to men whose schemes would only darken his glory; if by this boldness I have made myself the mark for all the resentment their utmost perfidy can occasion; I have never forgotten what I owe to the supreme head of the executive of a great people, who were the first to open the æra to freedom …” (The New-York Journal, & Patriotic Register, October 23, 1793).

4Genet married Cornelia Clinton, George Clinton’s daughter, in November, 1794.

5Although there was no foundation for this report, it was apparently rather widely circulated in late 1793 and early 1794 (Meade Minnigerode, Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793: The Career of Edmond Charles Genet [New York, 1928], 377–78).

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