Alexander Hamilton Papers

The Examination Number I, [17 December 1801]

The Examination Number I

Instead of delivering a speech to the House of Congress, at the opening of the present session, the President has thought fit to transmit a Message.17 Whether this has proceeded from pride or from humility, from a temperate love of reform, or from a wild spirit of innovation, is submitted to the conjectures of the curious. A single observation shall be indulged—since all agree, that he is unlike his predecessors in essential points, it is a mark of consistency to differ from them in matters of form.

Whoever considers the temper of the day, must be satisfied that this message is likely to add much to the popularity of our chief magistrate. It conforms, as far as would be tolerated at this early stage of our progress in political perfection, to the bewitching tenets of that illuminated doctrine, which promises man, ere long, an emancipation from the burdens and restraints of government; giving a foretaste of that pure felicity which the apostles of this doctrine have predicted. After having, with infinite pains and assiduity, formed the public taste for this species of fare, it is certainly right for those whom the people have chosen for their caterers, to be attentive to the gratification of that taste. And should the viands, which they may offer, prove baneful poisons instead of wholesome aliments, the justification is both plain and easy—Good patriots must, at all events, please the People. But those whose patriotism is of the Old School, who differ so widely from the disciples of the new creed, that they would rather risk incurring the displeasure of the people, by speaking unpalatable truths, than betray their interest by fostering their prejudices; will never be deterred by an impure tide of popular opinion, from honestly pointing out the mistakes or the faults of weak or wicked men, who may have been selected as guardians of the public weal.

The Message of the President, by whatever motives it may have been dictated, is a performance which ought to alarm all who are anxious for the safety of our Government, for the respectability and welfare of our nation. It makes, or aims at making, a most prodigal sacrifice of constitutional energy, of sound principle, and of public interest, to the popularity of one man.

The first thing in it which excites our surprise, is the very extraordinary position, that though Tripoli had declared war in form against the United States, and had enforced it by actual hostility, yet that there was not power, for want of the sanction of Congress, to capture and detain her cruisers with their crews.18

When the newspapers informed us,19 that one of these cruisers, after being subdued in a bloody conflict, had been liberated and permitted quietly to return home, the imagination was perplexed to divine the reason. The conjecture naturally was, that pursuing a policy, too refined perhaps for barbarians, it was intended by that measure to give the enemy a strong impression of our magnanimity and humanity. No one dreampt of a scruple as to the right to seize and detain the armed vessel of an open and avowed foe, vanquished in battle. The enigma is now solved, and we are presented with one of the most singular paradoxes, ever advanced by a man claiming the character of a statesman. When analyzed, it amounts to nothing less than this, that between two nations there may exist a state of complete war on the one side—of peace on the other.

War, of itself, gives to the parties a mutual right to kill in battle, and to capture the persons and property of each other. This is a rule of natural law; a necessary and inevitable consequence of the state of war. This state between two nations is completely produced by the act of one—it requires no concurrent act of the other. It is impossible to conceive the idea, that one nation can be in full war with another, and this other not in the same state with respect to its adversary. The moment therefore that two nations are, in an absolute sense, at war, the public force of each may exercise every act of hostility, which the general laws of war authorise, against the persons and property of the other. As it respects this conclusion, the distinction between offensive and defensive war, makes no difference. That distinction is only material to discriminate the aggressing nation from that which defends itself against attack. The war is offensive on the part of the state which makes it; on the opposite side it is defensive: but the rights of both, as to the measure of hostility, are equal.

It will be readily allowed that the Constitution of a particular country may limit the Organ charged with the direction of the public force, in the use or application of that force, even in time of actual war: but nothing short of the strongest negative words, of the most express prohibitions, can be admitted to restrain that Organ from so employing it, as to derive the fruits of actual victory, by making prisoners of the persons and detaining the property of a vanquished enemy. Our Constitution happily is not chargeable with so great an absurdity. The framers of it would have blushed at a provision, so repugnant to good sense, so inconsistent with national safety and inconvenience. That instrument has only provided affirmatively, that, “The Congress shall have power to declare War;”20 the plain meaning of which is that, it is the peculiar and exclusive province of Congress, when the nation is at peace, to change that state into a state of war; whether from calculations of policy or from provocations or injuries received: in other words, it belongs to Congress only, to go to War. But when a foreign nation declares, or openly and avowedly makes war upon the United States, they are then by the very fact, already at war, and any declaration on the part of Congress is nugatory: it is at least unnecessary. This inference is clear in principle, and has the sanction of established practice. It is clear in principle, because it is self-evident, that a declaration by one nation against another, produce[s] at once a complete state of war between both; and that no declaration on the other side can at all vary their relative situation: and in practice it is well known, that nothing is more common, than when war is declared by one party, to prosecute mutual hostilities, without a declaration by the other.

The doctrine of the Message includes the strange absurdity, that, without a declaration of war by Congress, our public force may destroy the life, but may not restrain the liberty, or seize the property of an enemy. This was exemplified in the very instance of the Tripolitan corsair. A number of her crew were slaughtered in the combat, and after she was subdued she was set free with the remainder. But it may perhaps be said, that she was the assailant, and that resistance was an act of mere defence, and self-preservation. Let us then pursue the matter a step further. Our ships had blockaded the Tripolitan Admiral in the bay of Gibraltar; suppose, he had attempted to make his way out, without first firing upon them: if permitted to do it, the blockade was a farce; if hindered by force, this would have amounted to more than a mere act of defence; and if a combat had ensued, we should then have seen an unequivocal illustration of the unintelligible right, to take the life but not to abridge the liberty, or capture the property of an enemy.

Let us suppose an invasion of our territory, previous to a declaration of war by Congress. The principle avowed in the Message would authorize our troops to kill those of the invader, if they should come within the reach of their bayonets, perhaps to drive them into the sea, and drown them; but not to disable them from doing harm, by the milder process of making them prisoners, and sending them into confinement. Perhaps it may be replied, that the same end would be answered by disarming and leaving them to starve. The merit of such an argument would be complete by adding, that should they not be famished, before the arrival of their ships, with a fresh supply of arms, we might then, if able, disarm them a second time, and send them on board their fleet, to return safely home.

The inconvenience of the doctrine in practice, is not less palpable than its folly in theory. In every case it presents a most unequal warfare. In the instance which has occurred, the vanquished Barbarian got off with the loss of his guns. Had he been victorious, the Americans, whose lives might have been spared, would have been doomed to wear out a miserable existence in slavery and chains. Substantial benefits would have rewarded his success; while on our side, life, liberty and property, were put in jeopardy, for an empty triumph. This, however, was a partial inconvenience—cases may arise in which evils of a more serious and comprehensive nature wou’d be the fruits of this visionary and fantastical principle. Suppose that, in the recess of Congress, a foreign maritime power should unexpectedly declare war against the United States, and send a fleet and army to seize Rhode-Island, in order from thence to annoy our trade and our seaport towns. Till the Congress should assemble and declare war, which would require time, our ships might, according to the hypothesis of the Message, be sent by the President to fight those of the enemy as often as they should be attacked, but not to capture and detain them: If beaten, both vessels and crews whould be lost to the United States: if successful, they could only disarm those they had overcome, and must suffer them to return to the place of common rendezvous, there to equip anew, for the purpose of resuming their depredations on our towns and our trade.

Who could restrain the laugh of derision at positions so preposterous, were it not for the reflection that in the first magistrate of our country, they cast a blemish on our national character? What will the world think of the fold when such is the shepherd?

Lucius Crassus.

New-York Evening Post, December 17, 1801.

1Jefferson’s first annual message to Congress reads: “Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and House of Representatives:

“It is a circumstance of sincere gratification to me that, on meeting the great council of our nation, I am able to announce to them, on grounds of reasonable certainty, that the wars and troubles which for so many years afflicted our sister nations, have at length come to an end; and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them. Whilst we devoutly return thanks to the beneficient Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and forgiveness, we are bound, with peculiar gratitude, to be thankful to Him that our own peace has been preserved through so perilous a season, and ourselves permitted quietly to cultivate the earth, and to practice and improve those arts which tend to increase our comforts. The assurances, indeed, of friendly disposition, received from all the Powers with whom we have principal relations, had inspired a confidence that our peace with them would not have been disturbed. But a cessation of irregularities which had affected the commerce of neutral nations, and of the irritations and injuries produced by them, cannot but add to this confidence, and strengthens, at the same time, the hope that wrongs committed on unoffending friends, under a pressure of circumstances, will now be reviewed with candor, and will be considered as founding just claims of restribution for the past, and new assurances for the future.

“Among our Indian neighbors, also, a spirit of peace and friendship generally prevails; and I am happy to inform you that the continued efforts to introduce among them the implements and the practice of husbandry, and of the household arts, have not been without success; that they are becoming more and more sensible of the superiority of this dependence for clothing and subsistence, over the precarious resources of hunting and fishing; and already we are able to announce that, instead of that constant diminution of their numbers, produced by their wars and their wants, some of them begin to experience an increase of population.

“To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demands admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that Power of our sincere desire to remain in peace; but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary. The Bey [Yusuf Karamanli, Bey of Tripoli] had already declared war. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded, and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadrons dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers, having fallen in with and engaged the small schooner Enterprize, commanded by Lieutenant [Andrew] Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to destruction. Unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defence, the vessel, being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The Legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that, in the exercise of this important function confided by the Constitution to the Legislature exclusively, their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.

“I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary States was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty, by immediate measures for fulfilling them, to vindicate to ourselves the right of considering the effect of departure from stipulation on their side. From the papers which will be laid before you, you will be enabled to judge whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measure of their demands, or, as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power; and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture.

“I lay before you the result of the census lately taken of our inhabitants, to a conformity with which we are now to reduce the ensuing ratio of representation and taxation. You will perceive that the increase of numbers, during the last ten years, proceeding in geometrical ratio, promises a duplication in little more than twenty-two years. We contemplate this rapid growth, and the prospect it holds up to us, not with a view to the injuries it may enable us to do to others in some future day, but to the settlement of the extensive country still remaining vacant within our limits, to the multiplication of men susceptible of happiness, educated in the love of order, habituated to self-government, and valuing its blessings above all price.

“Other circumstances, combined with the increase of numbers, have produced an augmentation of revenue arising from consumption, in a ratio far beyond that of population alone; and, though the changes in foreign relations now taking place, so desirably for the whole world, may for a season affect this branch of revenue, yet, weighing all probabilities of expense, as well as of income, there is reasonable ground of confidence that we may now safely dispense with all the internal taxes—comprehending excise, stamps, auctions, licenses, carriages, and refined sugars; to which the postage on newspapers may be added, to facilitate the progress of information; and that the remaining sources of revenue will be sufficient to provide for the support of Government, to pay the interest of the public debts, and to discharge the principals within shorter periods than the laws or the general expectation had contemplated. War, indeed, and untoward events, may change this prospect of things, and call for expenses which the imposts could not meet. But sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow-citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not, perhaps, happen, but from the temptations offered by that treasure.

“These views, however, of reducing our burdens, are formed on the expectation that a sensible, and at the same time a salutary, reduction may take place in our habitual expenditures. For this purpose those of the civil government, the army, and navy, will need revisal. When we consider that the Government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these States; that the States themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote. I will cause to be laid before you an essay towards a statement of those who, under public employment of various kinds, draw money from the Treasury, or from our citizens. Time had not permitted a perfect enumeration, the ramification of office being too multiplied and remote to be completely traced in the first trial. Among those who are dependent on Executive discretion, I have begun the reduction of what was deemed unnecessary. The expenses of diplomatic agency have been considerably diminished. The inspectors of internal revenue, who were found to obstruct the accountability of the institution, have been discontinued. Several agencies, created by Executive authority, on salaries fixed by that also, have been suppressed, and should suggest the expedience of regulating that power by law, so as to subject its exercise to legislative inspection and sanction. Other reformations of the same kind will be pursued with that caution which is requisite, in removing useless things, not to injure what is retained. But the great mass of public offices is established by law, and therefore by law alone can be abolished. Should the Legislature think it expedient to pass this roll in review, and try all its parts by the test of public utility, they may be assured of every aid and light which Executive information can yield. Considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependencies and to increase expense to the ultimate term of burden which the citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge; that it never may be seen here that, after leaving to labor the smallest portion of its earnings on which it can subsist, Government shall itself consume the whole residue of what it was instituted to guard.

“In our care too of the public contributions entrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their dissipation, by appropriating specific sums to every specific purpose susceptible of definition; by disallowing all applications of money varying from the appropriation in object, or transcending it in amount; by reducing the undefined field of contingencies, and thereby circumscribing discretionary powers over money; and by bringing back to a single department all accountabilities for money, where the examinations may be prompt, efficacious, and uniform.

“An account of the receipts and expenditures of the last year, as prepared by the Secretary of the Treasury, will, as usual, be laid before you. The success which has attended the late sales of the public lands shows that, with attention, they may be made an important source of receipt. Among the payments those made in discharge of the principal and interest of the national debt, will show that the public faith has been exactly maintained. To these will be added an estimate of appropriations necessary for the ensuing year. This last will, of course, be affected by such modifications of the system of expense as you shall think proper to adopt.

“A statement has been formed by the Secretary of War, on mature consideration, of all the posts and stations where garrisons will be expedient, and of the number of men requisite for each garrison. The whole amount is considerably short of the present Military Establishment. For the surplus no particular use can be pointed out. For defence against invasion their number is as nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace, for that purpose. Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point, and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens, as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading force, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but, if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them. These considerations render it important that we should, at every session, continue to amend the defects which from time to time show themselves in the laws for regulating the militia, until they are sufficiently perfect; nor should we now, or at any time, separate, until we can say that we have done everything for the militia which we could do were an enemy at our door.

“The provision of military stores on hand will be laid before you, that you may judge of the additions still requisite.

“With respect to the extent to which our naval preparations should be carried, some difference of opinion may be expected to appear; but just attention to the circumstances of every part of the Union will doubtless reconcile all. A small force will probably continue to be wanted for actual service in the Mediterranean. Whatever annual sum beyond that you may think proper to appropriate to naval preparations, would perhaps be better employed in providing those articles which may be kept without waste or consumption, and be in readiness when any exigence calls them into use. Progress has been made, as will appear by papers now communicated, in providing materials for seventy-four gun ships, as directed by law.

“How far the authority given by the Legislature for procuring and establishing sites for naval purposes, has been perfectly understood and pursued in the execution, admits of some doubt. A statement of the expenses already incurred on that subject is now laid before you. I have, in certain cases, suspended or slackened these expenditures, that the Legislature might determine whether so many yards are necessary as have been contemplated. The works at this place are among those permitted to go on; and five of the seven frigates directed to be laid up, have been brought and laid up here, where, besides the safety of their position, they are under the eye of the Executive Adminisration, as well as of its agents; and where yourselves also will be guided by your own view in the Legislative provisions respecting them, which may, from time to time, be necessary. They are preserved in such condition, as well the vessels as whatever belongs to them, as to be at all times ready for sea on a short warning. Two others are yet to be laid up, so soon as they shall receive the repairs requisite to put them also into sound condition. As a superintending officer will be necessary at each yard, his duties and emoluments, hitherto fixed by the Executive, will be a more proper subject for legislation. A communication will also be made of our progress in the execution of the law respecting the vessels directed to be sold.

“The fortifications of our harbors, more or less advanced, present considerations of great difficulty. While some of them are on a scale sufficiently proportioned to the advantages of their position, to the efficacy of their protection, and the importance of the points within it, others are so extensive, will cost so much in their first erection, so much in their maintenance, and require such a force to garrison them, as to make it questionable what is best now to be done. A statement of those commenced or projected; of the expenses already incurred; and estimates of their future cost, as far as can be foreseen, shall be laid before you, that you may be enabled to judge whether any alteration is necessary in the laws respecting this subject.

“Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are then most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed. If, in the course of your observations or inquiries, they should appear to need any aid within the limits of our Constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention. We cannot, indeed, but all feel an anxious solicitude for the difficulties under which our carrying trade will soon be placed. How far it can be relieved, otherwise than by time, is a subject of important consideration.

“The Judiciary system of the United States, and especially that portion of it recently erected, will, of course, present itself to the contemplation of Congress; and that they may be able to judge of the proportion which the institution bears to the business it has to perform, I have caused to be procured from the several States, and now lay before Congress, an exact statement of all the causes decided since the first establishment of the courts, and of those which were depending when additional courts and judges were brought in to their aid.

“And while on the Judiciary organization, it will be worthy of your consideration whether the protection of the inestimable institution of juries has been extended to all the cases involving the security of our persons and property. Their impartial selection also being essential to their value, we ought further to consider whether that is sufficiently secured in those States where they are named by a marshal depending on Executive will, or designated by the court, or by officers dependent on them.

“I cannot omit recommending a revisal of the laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering the ordinary changes of human life, a denial of citizenship under a residence of fourteen years, is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it; and controls a policy pursued, from their first settlement, by many of these States, and still believed of consequence to their prosperity. And shall we refuse to the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? The Constitution, indeed, has wisely provided that, for admission to certain offices of important trust, a residence shall be required sufficient to develop character and design. But might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bona fide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us? with restrictions, perhaps, to guard against the fraudulent usurpation of our flag? an abuse which brings so much embarrassment and loss on the genuine citizen, and so much danger to the nation of being involved in war, that no endeavor should be spared to detect and suppress it.

“These, fellow-citizens, are the matters respecting the state of the nation which I have thought of importance to be submitted to your consideration at this time. Some others of less moment, or not yet ready for communication, will be the subject of separate Messages. I am happy in this opportunity of committing the arduous affairs of our Government to the collected wisdom of the Union. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to inform, as far as in my power, the Legislative judgment, nor to carry that judgment into faithful execution. The prudence and temperance of your discussion will promote, within your own walls, that conciliation which so much befriends rational conclusion; and by its example will encourage among our constituents that progress of opinion which is tending to unite them in object and in will. That all should be satisfied with any one order of things, is not to be expected; but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested efforts, which have for their object to preserve the General and State Governments in their Constitutional form and equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, and order and obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles and practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty and property, and to reduce expenses to what is necessary for the useful purposes of Government.

Th: Jefferson.

December 8, 1801.” (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 , XI, 11–16.)

2The Examination of the President’s Message, at the Opening of Congress December 7, 1801. Revised and Corrected by the Author. Ducit Amor Patriæ (New-York: Printed and Published at the Office of the New-York Evening Post, 1802).

Although this pamphlet was advertised nine days before the Post printed the last issue of “The Examination,” it included all eighteen installments.

There are minor variations between the pamphlet and the newspaper versions of the essay.

4Adams to Rufus King, January 18, 1802 (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

5JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , VII, 744–835. See also Hamilton, History description begins John C. Hamilton, Life of Alexander Hamilton, a History of the Republic of the United States of America (Boston, 1879). description ends , VII, 513. Among those who followed John C. Hamilton’s lead and attributed “The Examination” to H are Henry Cabot Lodge, Joseph Sabin, the compilers of American Bibliography, Paul Leicester Ford, Allan Nevins, and Dumas Malone. See HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , VIII, 246–373; Sabin, et al., eds., Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from its Discovery to the Present Time (New York, 1868–1936), VIII, 25; Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comp., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1802 (New York, 1958), 73; Ford, Bibliotheca Hamiltonia, A List of Books Written by, or Relating to Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1886), 65; Nevins, The Evening Post: A Century of Journalism (New York, 1922), 26–27; Malone, Jefferson and His Time, IV, Jefferson The President: First Term, 1801–1805 (Boston, 1970), 98.

6ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

The New York Supreme Court met in Albany from January 19 to January 30, 1802. The Court of Errors met immediately following the January term of the Supreme Court.

7The first issue of the New-York Evening Post appeared on November 16, 1801. Coleman served as editor until his death in 1829.

On September 14, 1801, Troup wrote to King: “We have set him [Coleman] up, in consequence of his removal from his office by the late proceedings of the council [of appointment], as a printer. His first paper will make its appearance in October next.… All our friends have Mr Coleman’s paper much at heart. We have not a paper in the City on the federal side that is worth reading” (AL, New-York Historical Society, New York City). According to Allan McLane Hamilton, these “friends” included, in addition to H and Troup, Richard Varick, Archibald Gracie, Samuel Boyd, and William Woolsey (Intimate Life, 71). On December 21, 1801, Troup wrote to King: “I have subscribed for you to the Evening post which is edited by Mr Coleman—our new Federal printer & paid the subscription being $8—a year—I intend the paper shall be regularly sent to you. The whole of Hamilton’s strictures shall certainly be sent. [Egbert] Benson & I have also resolved to put you down $100—which he—Hamilton, myself and many others have paid towards helping Coleman along till he gets on his legs. The money is to be repaid to us by & by. If you will cooperate in this plan will you say to Mr [Nicholas] Low to pay me or Benson for you $100. I will secure it with the money to be paid to the rest of us” (ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City).

H made the following entry in his Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the account for Coleman: “1802

Feby 12 To Cash lent on account
of S[tephen] V Rensselaer
& myself”
} 200

A second entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of February, 1802, reads: “William Coleman Editor a loan 200” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

For an extensive but unannotated discussion of the founding of the Post, see Nevins, The Evening Post, 9–34.

8Frederic Hudson, Journalism in the United States from 1690 to 1872 (New York, 1873), 219.

9Hamilton, Intimate Life description begins Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1910). description ends , 71.

Jeremiah Mason, a Federalist lawyer who served as attorney general of the state of New Hampshire from 1802 to 1805 and was subsequently elected to the the United States Senate, wrote: “Another of the extraordinary men who then ranged that country, was William Coleman, afterwards so greatly distinguished as the editor of the ‘New York Evening Post,’ under the patronage of General Hamilton, that his opponents gave him the title of Field Marshall of Federal Editors.… His paper for several years gave the leading tone to the press of the Federal party. His acquaintances were often surprised by the ability of some of his editorial articles, which were supposed to be beyond his depth. Having a convenient opportunity, I asked him who wrote, or aided in writing those articles. He frankly answered that he made no secret of it; that his paper was set up under the auspices of General Hamilton, and that he assisted him. I then asked, ‘Does he write in your paper?’ ‘Never a word.’ ‘How, then, does he assist?’ His answer was, ‘Whenever anything occurs on which I feel the want of information, I state the matter to him, sometimes in a note. He appoints a time when I may see him, usually a late hour of the evening. He always keeps himself minutely informed on all political matters. As soon as I see him, he begins in a deliberate manner to dictate, and I to note down in shorthand’ (he was a good stenograher); ‘when he stops my article is completed’” (G. S. Hillard, Memoir and Correspondence of Jeremiah Mason [Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1873], 32–33).

10Adams to King, January 18, 1802 (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).

11Adams, History of the United States of America, 9 vols. (New York, 1889–1898).

12Smelser, The Democratic Republic, 1801–1815 (New York, 1968).

13Cunningham, The Jeffersonian Republicans in Power: Party Operations, 1801–1809 (Chapel Hill, 1963).

14Mitchell includes “The Examination” in his bibliography, but he does not discuss the essays in the text (Hamilton, II, 779).

15Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (New York, 1970).

16Malone, Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801–1805 (Boston, 1970), 98, 99, 104.

17Unlike George Washington and John Adams, who delivered their annual messages to Congress in person, Jefferson gave his address to his secretary, Meriwether Lewis, who in turn delivered it to Congress. In a letter to Aaron Burr, president of the Senate, which accompanied the message, Jefferson wrote: “The circumstances under which we find ourselves at this place rendering inconvenient the mode heretofore practised, of making by personal address the first communications between the Legislative and Executive branches, I have adopted that by Message, as used on all subsequent occasions through the session. In doing this I have had principal regard to the convenience of the Legislature, to the economy of their time, to their relief from the embarrassment of immediate answers, on subjects not yet fully before them, and to the benefits thence resulting to the public affairs. Trusting that a procedure founded in these motives will meet their approbation, I beg leave, through you, sir, to communicate the enclosed Message, with the documents accompanying it, to the honorable the Senate, and pray you to accept, for yourself and them, the homage of my high respect and consideration” (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 , XI, 11). On December 20, 1801, Jefferson wrote to Benjamin Rush: “By sending a message, instead of making a speech at the opening of the session, I have prevented the bloody conflict to which the making of an answer would have committed them. They consequently were able to set into real business at once without losing 10. or 12. days in combating answer” (Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson [New York, 1897], VIII, 127–28).

18For United States relations with Tripoli at this time, 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 , 349–85; Naval Documents, Barbary Powers description begins Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers (Washington, 1939), I description ends , I, 404–05, 420–22, 430–31, 449–50, 454–60, 470–72, 486; ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, II, 347–61.

19See The [New York] Spectator, November 25, 1801.

20Article I, Section 8.

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