Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jonathan Williams, 3 September 1797

From Jonathan Williams1

Mount Pleasant2 [near Philadelphia] September 3, 1797. “I took the Liberty when I saw you last in New York to intimate a wish to be employed in the treasury department, and you were so kind as to offer your aid in this respect whenever a specific object should be pointed out. The Death of D Way3 having left a vacancy in the mint, I have been induced to make application to be appointed Treasurer in that Department. I hope I do not presume too far on your friendship to flatter myself that you will take occasion to serve me in such way as to you may seem best.…”4

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Williams, a native of Boston and a great-nephew of Benjamin Franklin, served as prize and commercial agent at Nantes during the American Revolution. After the Revolution, he settled in Philadelphia and invested in stock and land speculations. In 1796 he became associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

2This was the name of Williams’s estate, which was located on the east bank of the Schuylkill River and had formerly belonged to Benedict Arnold.

3Dr. Nicholas Way, a physician in Philadelphia, had been appointed Treasurer of the Mint in 1794. On September 4, 1797, Elias Boudinot, Director of the Mint, wrote to Timothy Pickering: “It is with inexpressible Grief, that I announce to you the unexpected Death of our excellent friend Dr. Nicholas Way, Treasurer of the Mint—He dyed last Saturday Evening of a most malignant fever—He was ill but seven days.” On September 15, 1797, Boudinot wrote to Pickering that Williams had applied for the position of Treasurer of the Mint (Jane J. Boudinot, ed., The Life, Public Services, Addresses and Letters of Elias Boudinot, LL.D [Boston and New York, 1896], II, 129, 131).

4Williams did not receive the appointment. On November 24, 1797, John Adams nominated Benjamin Rush, and the Senate agreed to this appointment on November 27 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 251). For a discussion of Rush’s appointment as Treasurer of the Mint, including relevant letters, see L. H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of Benjamin Rush (Princeton, 1951), II, 1209–12.

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