Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John Laurance, 25 December 1793

From John Laurance1

New York Dec. 25th. 1793

Dear sir

I have received your favors.2 I have sent the draft of my answer to your queries to Mr King to peruse.3 Your queries are very comprehensive, containing much matter and have a relation coextensive with an acquaintance. I have traced in my memory every circumstance, which has the least relation, in my opinion, to them, and have mentioned it to the best of my recollection and belief. I shall have the draft copied as soon as Mr King returns it, and shall make such alterations as may appear to me proper, and send the answers back to you. I am confined with a very heavy Cold and sore Throat.

Your affectionate humble servt.

John Laurance

Alexr Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Laurance was a New York attorney who had served as a Federalist member of the House of Representatives in the First and Second Congresses. In 1794 he was appointed judge of the United States District Court of New York.

For background to this letter, see Andrew G. Fraunces to H, May 16, 1793. See also William Willcocks to H, September 1, 5, 1793; H to Catharine Greene, September 3, 1793; H to Jeremiah Wadsworth, September 3, 1793; Wadsworth to H, September 13, 1793; Robert Affleck to H, September 7, 1793; Joseph Nourse to H, November 29, 1793.

2Letters not found.

3On December 14, 1793, Rufus King wrote to Laurance: ‘Colo. Hamilton yesterday mentioned to me that some time since he wrote you a letter respecting the Charge which Frauncis has published respecting him. This brought to my recollection that you had desired me to speak to him on the same subject, and I accordingly stated the conversation that had passed between us. He appears to consider the Affair in a more important light than we had viewed it, and still wished that you would give your affidavit instead of a certificate.

“He added that his publication would be accompanied with the affidavits of, [Jeremiah] Wadsworth, [Royal] Flint, Miers and others, and that it would seem extraordinary that your certificate shd. be without the solemnity of an Oath. I told him that I would write to you on the Subject, and that I thought it probable from the consideration above stated that you would answer his Quesions on Oath. I understand from him that he waits only for your Affidavit to make his Publication.” (ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City.)

On December 18, 1793, Laurance replied to King that he would send the draft of his answers to King before he had sworn to them and that he had “a real aversion” to swearing except for matters relating to court actions. He added: “.… however as it is thought necessary, in relation to the Publication you mention, I shall do it. After you have perused the Draft you may shew it to Col Hamilton, and then return it to me” (ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City).

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