Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, 5 September 1796

To George Washington1

New York Sept. 5. 17962


I return the draft3 corrected agreeably to your intimations. You will observe a short paragraph added respecting Education.4 As to the establishment of a University, it is a point which in connection with military schools, & some other things, I meant, agreeably to your desire to suggest to you, as parts of your Speech at the opening of the session.5 There will several things come there much better than in a general address to The People which likewise would swell the address too much. Had I had health enough, it was my intention to have written it over, in which case I could both have improved & abriged. But this is not the case. I seem now to have regularly a period of ill health every summer.

I think it will be adviseable simply to send the address by your Secretary6 to Dunlap.7 It will of course find its way into all the other papers. Some person on the spot ought to be charged with a careful examination of the impression by the proof sheet.

Very respectfully & Affect I have the honor to be   Sir   Yr. very obed serv

A Hamilton

The President

ALS, MS Division, New York Public Library.

1For an explanation of the contents of this letter, see the introductory note to H to Washington, May 10, 1796. See also Washington to H, August 25, September 1, 1796; H to Washington, September 4, 1796.

2In HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , X, 190, this letter is dated September 4, 1796. Henry Cabot Lodge attributes the source of this letter to Hamilton, History description begins John C. Hamilton, Life of Alexander Hamilton, a History of the Republic of the United States (Boston, 1879). description ends , VI, 530, where it is correctly dated.

3H’s “Draft of Washington’s Farewell Address,” which is printed as an enclosure to H to Washington, July 30, 1796.

4This paragraph has not been found. See H to Washington, July 30, 1796, note 12.

In his final draft of the Farewell Address, Washington wrote the following paragraph on education: “Promote then as an object of primary importance, Institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened” (ADS, MS Division, New York Public Library; printed in Paltsits, Farewell Address description begins Victor Hugo Paltsits, ed., Washington’s Farewell Address (New York: Published by the New York Public Library, 1935). description ends , 152).

6Tobias Lear.

7John Dunlap, in partnership with David C. Claypoole, had been publisher of Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser in Philadelphia. H presumably did not know that Dunlap had retired on December 31, 1795, and that the American Daily Advertiser had become Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, published by David C. and Septimus Claypoole.

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