George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 27 April 1793

From Alexander Hamilton

Philadelphia April 27th 1793.

The Secretary of the Treasury presents his respects to the President. The enclosed Letter just received from the Collector of Charleston contains information & raises a question, which are proper for the eye of the President.1


1Isaac Holmes’s letter to Hamilton of 16 April has not been identified. GW’s executive journal states that Hamilton delivered Holmes’s letter to the president on 29 April 1793, and that in it, Holmes requested instructions on whether duties should be paid on prizes brought into Charleston, S.C., by the French frigate, Embuscade (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 122–23, and note 4). On 30 April, GW suggested to Hamilton that he consult Attorney General Edmund Randolph on this matter (ibid., 123). Hamilton wrote Randolph about it on 10 May, but no reply to that letter has been identified (Hamilton Papers, 14:431–32). However, GW had recently declared the United States to be neutral in the war between Great Britain and France (Neutrality Proclamation, 22 April). Cabinet members already were debating how to respond to French privateering in American waters and the use of American ports for the disposal of the privateers’ prizes. Randolph and Hamilton soon sent to GW their opinions on these issues (Hamilton’s Memorandum, 15 May, and note 1, and Randolph’s Memorandum, 17 May).

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