Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Andrew G. Fraunces, 27 June 1797

To Andrew G. Fraunces

Philadelphia, June 27, 1797.


It would have highly gratified me had it been in my power to furnish the relief you ask: but I am preparing for my departure and find, on winding up my affairs, that I shall not have one dollar to spare. It is therefore with sincere regret I have nothing better to tender than the sentiments of good will of Sir, Your most obedient servant,

Th. Jefferson

MS not found; reprinted from Hamilton, Observations, description begins Observations on Certain Documents Contained in No. V & VI of “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in Which the Charge of Speculation Against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself, Philadelphia, 1797 description ends Appendix No. XLIV.

Andrew G. Fraunces, son of Samuel Fraunces, proprietor of Fraunces Tavern in New York City and Washington’s steward while he was president, served as principal clerk of the Treasury Department from 1789 until 1793, when it is not clear whether he resigned or was dismissed. Shortly thereafter he charged Alexander Hamilton with speculation in government securities (Washington, Papers: Pres. Ser., ii, 438n, IV, 375–6n). For Fraunces’s dispute with Hamilton and for the circumstances which led to Hamilton’s publication of this and the subsequent letter from TJ to Fraunces of 28 June 1797, see Appendix on the first conflict in the cabinet, Vol. 18: 658–9n, 687–8n. Later in the year a list of queries of Fraunces to Hamilton appeared in the newspapers which included the following regarding Hamilton’s acquisition of TJ’s letters: “Did you not in July last inveigle one of my letters from the vice president, of the 27th and 28th day of June last, when I, distracted from the sudden death of my infant, believing from your own words, that you, feeling the misery you had brought on me, and meant the exposure of them to Mr. Church only for my interest?” (The Times. Alexandria Advertiser, 27 Oct. 1797). See also John Barnes to TJ, 3 Oct. 1797.

Despite TJ’s assertion that he had not one dollar to spare, entries in his financial memoranda for 26 and 28 June 1797 indicate that he gave Fraunces four dollars “in charity” on both days (MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , ii, 964).

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