From Alexander Hamilton
Treasury Dept May 3d 1794.
Inclosed are copies of a Letter of mine of the 25 ultimo to the Attorney General and of his answer.1
Concurring entirely in opinion with that officer, I am led to bring the subject under the eye of the President only from the reflection that a foreign Government is concerned in the question. And unless I receive a direction to the contrary, I shall act in conformity with that opinion. I am urged for a reply in a particular case which will go to Europe by the Vessel which shall carry Mr Jay.2 With perfect respect I have the honor to be &c.
1. Hamilton’s letter to William Bradford of 25 April has not been identified. Bradford replied in a letter of 1 May. Hamilton had pointed out that "among the French Officers who served in the United States and who obtained Certificates for the sums due to them there are several who are in the condition of Emigrants and whose whole property has been confiscated by the actual gov: of that Country" and asked whether that confiscation affected the officers’ claims to payment from the United States. Bradford replied that "the Emigrant brings with him all his transitory rights and the proceedings of the Country which he has left, do not affect his claim to the debt in question," even if the French government seized the certificates (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:360-61).
2. Hamilton evidently was referring to the case of Louis-Saint-Ange Morel, chevalier de La Colombe, to whom the U.S. minister at London, Thomas Pinckney, had advanced funds "on account of his Certificate." Pinckney, who intended a further advance to allow La Colombe to go to America, raised the question in a letter to Secretary of State Edmund Randolph of 10 Jan., and Randolph referred the issue to Hamilton in a letter of 30 April (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:355). GW apparently raised no objections to the opinion, for Randolph wrote in his letter to Pinckney of 10 May: "The Secretary of the Treasury says that La Colombe’s money will be paid, and that it is adviseable for you to send your account" (DNA: RG 59, Diplomatic and Consular Instructions).