George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 11 April 1791

From Alexander Hamilton

Philada April 11th 1791.


I have just received a letter from Mr King in these words1—“Mr Elliot, who it has been said was appointed will not come to America, owing say his friends here to a disinclination on his part which has arisen from the death of his eldest or only son.2 Mr Seaton yesterday read me an abstract of a letter from London dated February 2. & written, as he observed, by a man of information, which says—‘Mr Frazer is appointed Plenipotentiary to the United States of America and will go out as soon as it is ascertained here that a correspondent character is appointed in America’—Although Mr Elliott might not have been altogether adequate to the appointment, yet he would not have been a bad choice; it is questionable whether we can say even as much as that for Mr Frazer, who is probably the Gentleman lately resident with the Hans towns, and formerly consul at Algiers, and who is said to be a wrong headed impetuous man. Should this information be correct, the appointment is not only unpromising but is also a pretty strong proof of the misguided opinions of the British administration concerning this Country.”3 Nothing except the foregoing letter occurs worth communication more than is contained in my official dispatch herewith.4 With the truest and most respectful attachment I have the honor to be Sir Your Obedt Servant

A. Hamilton


1The editors of the Hamilton Papers found no such letter from Rufus King to Alexander Hamilton.

2For Andrew Elliot’s declination of the appointment of British minister to the United States, see John Graves Simcoe to Evan Nepean, 16 Mar., in Cruikshank, Simcoe Papers, description begins E. A. Cruikshank, ed. The Correspondence of Lieut. Governor John Graves Simcoe, with Allied Documents Relating to His Administration of the Government of Upper Canada. 5 vols. Toronto, 1923–31. description ends 1:21. See also Simcoe to Henry Dundas, 12 Aug., ibid., 48.

3“Mr Seaton” is William Seton. “Mr Frazer” is probably Charles Henry Fraser, who served as secretary of the British legation in Russia in 1787–88 and later served in Madrid as minister plenipotentiary until his recall in November 1790, when he became minister resident of the Hanse towns. Archibald C. Fraser served as British consul in Algiers from 1766 to 1774.

4For Hamilton’s enclosed “official dispatch,” see Hamilton to GW, 10 April 1791 (first letter).

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