Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Matthew Clarkson, 20 August 1798

From Matthew Clarkson1

New York, August 20, 1798. “I have reflected maturely on our conversation of yesterday. The result is, as far as I can with propriety I decline, at present, any military appointment. The duty I owe my Family seems to demand this of me, nor can I believe I give too great weight to this consideration when I consider the very small probability there is of any serious military operations taking place in this Country and the real injury I should sustain by being called from my present pursuits.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1At the conclusion of the American Revolution, Clarkson held the rank of major, and in 1798 he was a major general of the New York State militia. Clarkson had served as United States marshal for the District of New York in 1791 and 1792, and in February, 1795, he had been appointed commissioner of loans for New York. See H to George Washington, January 14, 1795. Clarkson had been a member of the New York Assembly in 1789 and 1790 and of the state Senate in 1794 and 1795. In 1794 the New York legislature had appointed him to a seven-man committee in charge of the fortification of New York City. On May 21, 1796, Washington nominated Clarkson as the United States commissioner under Article 21 of the treaty signed at San Lorenzo el Real (Pinckney’s Treaty) on October 27, 1795, between the United States and Spain, and on May 24, 1796, the Senate confirmed the appointment (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 210–11).

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