Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Vans Murray, 9 October 1800

From William Vans Murray

Paris 9. Octr. 1800.

Dear Sir,

I was extremely flatterd by the confidence which your letter1 by Mr. Colbert2 proved you have in my disposition to follow your wishes. A letter from you is no affair of ceremony—it is an obligation on any man who flatters himself with the hope of your personal esteem. Mr. C. gave it to me yesterday. I immediately in particular addressed a letter to Bonaparte, & made use of your name, wh. I was sure would be pleasing to him. To day I dined with him. The Secretary of State—Mr. Maret3 a very clever fellow, assured me that he received it kindly & I even hope something good from it—if any come, it will be your work. I never before spoke or wrote to B. on any affair, other than public business. It will be very pleasing to you to perceive, if we succeed, that your silent agency works good to the unhappy & meritorious at such a distance. I know nothing better belonging to reputation.

In two days I go to the Hague, to my post.4 Wherever I am I beg you to command my services in all things in my power.

I am with sincere respect and affectionate esteem   Dear Sir   Yrs &c. &c

W. V. Murray.

Genl. Hamilton
New York.

You will know that Mr. Thugut5 was lately dismissed—Count Lehrback6 put in this place—Count de Cobentzel7 named to come here to treat.

Count C. is by to day in French territory—here the basis for Luneville will be established or in 30 days the armistice will cease & the war be renew’d.8 As to Engd. it is uncertain! They may safely treat with this government—& the last campaign to Holld. convinced me that G. B. is a cypher in this war except in respect to stipends! Be assured of that.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2Edouard Charles Victurnien, chevalier de Colbert.

3Hugues-Bernard Maret, duc de Bassano, served as agent general of the French government for affairs with Belgium in 1791 and was one of the four plenipotentiaries sent to Lille in 1797 to negotiate a peace with Great Britain. After 18 Brumaire, an VIII (November 9–10, 1799), Maret was first named secretary general of consuls and then secretary of state.

4Murray, William R. Davie, and Oliver Ellsworth, completed their peace negotiations with the French representatives in Paris on September 30, 1800, when the representatives of the two countries signed the Convention of 1800 (Treaty of Môrtefontaine). For the text of the convention, which John Adams submitted to the Senate on December 16, 1800, in a letter dated December 15 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in 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 , X, 767), see Miller, Treaties, II description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington, 1931), II. description ends , 457–87.

Murray’s departure from Paris was delayed because of his wife’s illness, and he did not arrive at The Hague until October 26, 1800 (Worthington C. Ford, ed., “Letters of William Vans Murray,” Annual Report of the American Historical Association for the Year 1912 [Washington, 1914], 658–61).

5Baron Johann Amadeus Franz de Paula Thugut was the Austrian foreign minister from 1793 to 1800.

6Count Ludwig Konrad von Lehrbach served as the Austrian envoy from the Hapsburg States to the Congress of Rastatt in December, 1797.

7Count Philip Cobentzl preceded Thugut as Austrian foreign minister. In 1797 he was the Austrian emissary to Napoleon Bonaparte at Udine, Italy, where he helped to negotiate the Treaty of Campo Formio.

8Murray is referring to an armistice which Napoleon had negotiated with Austria at Lunéville in Lorraine during October, 1800. When the armistice ended in November, Napoleon renewed the war against Austria.

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