Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, 27 September 1794

From George Washington

Philadelphia, September 27, 1794. “Pay to the Secretary of State, out of the fund appropriated to defray the Contingent Charges of Government,1 the sum of Fifteen hundred Dollars, for the use of Colo. Innes.”2

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1“An Act making appropriations for certain purposes therein expressed” appropriated twenty thousand dollars for the contingent expenses of the Government under the direction of the President (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 394–95 [June 9, 1794]).

2James Innes, who had served as a lieutenant colonel in the 15th Virginia Regiment during the American Revolution, was attorney general of Virginia.

On May 15, 1794, the Senate resolved “That the President of the United States be and he hereby is requested to cause to be communicated to the Executive of the State of Kentucky, such part of the existing negotiation between the United States and Spain, relative to … [the free navigation of the Mississippi], as he may deem advisable and consistent with the course of negotiations” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 100).

For the negotiations between the United States and Spain concerning free navigation on the Mississippi, see “Notes on Thomas Jefferson’s Report of Instructions for the Commissioners to Spain,” March 1–4, 1792; “Conversation with George Hammond,” March 31, 1792, note 3, July 1–2, 1792.

On August 7, 1794, Edmund Randolph wrote to Washington: “You will be pleased to recollect, that the two houses of congress requested you, at the last session, to communicate to the people of Kentucky certain information, relative to the negotiation concerning the Mississippi. The reason, which we have had for some time past, for expecting hourly decisive intelligence from Madrid, has been the cause of withholding the communication to this day. But it seems expedient to enter into the business some way or other. It is impossible in point of propriety, (as I conceive) to lay before the world copies of all the papers. But a substitute for this may be found in the following course—to depute some sensible and firm man to go to Kentucky; carrying with him the most accurate knowledge of the whole transaction, and such minutes and copies of those things, which upon examination it shall be thought adviseable to attend to. This person shall immediately proceed to Kentucky, where he shall explain to the legislature and executive of the state the circumstances of the affair: the governor is to be requested that if the legislature shall not assemble upon its own adjournment or by the constitution before a given day, they may be convened to receive the proposed communication. The deputy shall urge every consideration, proper to allay the prevailing ferment …” (ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

On August 8, 1794, Randolph wrote to Innes: “The President has determined to send a Commissioner immediately to Kentucky, to lay before that Government the State of the negotiation respecting the Mississippi. I wish you could make it convenient to go. The pay will be eight dollars per day and all expenses” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives). Innes accepted the appointment, but because of poor health he did not go to Kentucky until November, 1794. His instructions are dated November 11, 1794 (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 7, June 27–November 30, 1794, National Archives).

On September 27, 1794, Randolph wrote to Washington and requested “a Warrant from the President’s Contingent Fund for such a sum of money … for the use of Colo. Innes, as the President may judge proper” (copy, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

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