Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John B. Church, [28 September 1789]

To John B. Church

[New York, September 28, 1789. On November 4, 1789, John Rutledge, wrote to William Short1: “Church read me a letter from Hamilton dated the 28th of Septr—he says ‘Mr Jay2 is appointed chief Justice, Mr Osgood3 Post Master—Wilson4 one of the 5 circuit Judges & Mr Jefferson5 will have offered him the foreign department.’” Letter not found.]

1ALS, William Short Papers, Library of Congress.

Rutledge, a lawyer from Charleston, South Carolina, was governor of South Carolina from 1779 to 1782 and a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783. In 1784 he was elected as a judge of the Chancery Court of the state, and from 1784 to 1790 he was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

While Jefferson was in France, Short, a resident of Virginia, served as his private secretary and secretary of the legation from 1785 to 1789, when Jefferson returned to America and Short became chargé d’affaires at Paris.

2After the Definitive Treaty of Peace was signed at Paris in September, 1783, John Jay returned to the United States and in 1784 became Secretary for Foreign Affairs. On September 24, 1789, George Washington nominated him as Chief Justice of the United States. Jay served as Secretary of State ad interim under the new constitution until March 22, 1790, when Jefferson assumed the office.

3Samuel Osgood of Massachusetts, a veteran of the American Revolution and a member of the Continental Congress from 1781 to 1784, was appointed one of three commissioners of the Treasury on January 25, 1785. On September 26, 1789, he was appointed Postmaster General.

4James Wilson, a native of Scotland and a lawyer in Philadelphia, was a member of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777 and from 1785 to 1787. On September 29, 1789, the Senate approved his nomination as associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

5Jefferson was appointed Secretary of State on September 25, 1789.

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