Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [5 May 1794]

To George Washington

[Philadelphia, May 5, 1794]

Mr. Hamilton presents his respects to The President. Mr. Talleyrand De Perigord formerly Bishop D’Autun,1 who the President is probably informed, lately arrived here informs Mr. Hamilton that he has a letter of Introduction to The President from Lord Landsdown2 and asks how & when he can present it. Mr. Hamilton promised him to enquire to day—but on account of the President’s deafness this morning did not think it adviseable to trouble him on the subject. If the President by a line will be so good as to enable Mr. Hamilton [to] answer the Inquiry, it will oblige him & Mr. Perigord.3

Monday Morning

AL, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City.

1Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, French diplomat and statesman, had left Paris on September 14, 1792, soon after the overthrow of the King and the September massacres. He went to England and remained there during the Terror. On January 28, 1794, Talleyrand was advised that he had five days to leave England or he would be deported to France. After several delays, he arrived in Philadelphia on April 28, 1794 (John L. Earl, III, “Talleyrand in Philadelphia, 1794–1796,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, XCI [July, 1967], 282–98).

2William Petty, second earl of Shelburne, had been created first Marquis of Lansdowne in 1784. A photostat of Lansdowne’s letter to Washington, dated March 2, 1794, is in the George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

3On February 4, 1794, Angelica Church wrote from London to her sister, Elizabeth Hamilton, as follows: “I recommend to your most particular care and attention my dear and kind Eliza, my friends Messieurs de Talleyrand and de Beaumais [Bon-Albert Briois, Chevalier de Beaumetz]; Make our Country agreeable to them as far as it is in your power (and your influence is very extensive) console them by your Hospitality, and the Image of your Domestic happiness and virtues, for all that they have suffered in the cause of Moderate Liberty; and you will be gratifyed my dear Eliza by rendering them services when by so doing you are also promoting the requests of your own Angelica. I have for these persons the most sincere friendship.

“To your care dear Eliza I commit these interesting Strangers, they are a Loen I make you, till I return to America, not to reclaim my friends entirely but to share their society with you and dear Alexander the amiable.

“Speak of these gentlemen as members of the constituent assembly, as Friend of La Fayette, and of good governement, and who left their country when Anarchy and Cruelty prevailed.

“If I have any influence with Americans who have been in England let them shew the sence they entertain of it, by receiving well my friends, whoever Cultivates their intimacy will thank me for giving them such valuable acquaintances.…” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.)

On July 30, 1794, Angelica Church wrote again from England to her sister: “I have a letter my dear Eliza from my worthy friend M. de Talleyrand who expresses to me his gratitudes for an introduction to you and my amiable by my amiable you know that I mean your Husband.… Talleyrand and Beaumetz write in raptures to all their friends of your kindness, and Colonel Hamilton’s abilities and manners, and I receive innumerable compliments on his & your account …” (ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

Beaumetz, a jurist and the reviser of the French penal code, had been a deputy for the nobility of Artois in the National Assembly and had presided in the Constituent Assembly. He left France in 1792 and went first to Germany and then to England and the United States.

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