George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 24 March 1796

From Alexander Hamilton

New York March 24 1796


I had the honor to receive yesterday your letter of the 22.1 The course you suggest has some obvious advantages & merits careful consideration—I am not however without fears that there are things in the instructions to Mr Jay which good policy, considering the matter externally as well as internally, would render it inexpedient to communicate.2 This, I shall ascertain to day—A middle course is under consideration—that of not communicating the papers to the house but of declaring that the Secretary of State is directed to permit them to be read by the members individually. But this is liable to a great part of the objections which militate against a full public disclosure. I throw it out however here that you may be thinking of it, if it has not before occurred—In the course of this day I shall endeavour to concenter my ideas & prepare something—the premisses of which may be in any event proper, admittin⟨g o⟩f the conclusion being modified & adapted to your eventual determination. Respectfully & affecty Sir Yr obed. ser.

A. Hamilton

ALS, DLC: Alexander Hamilton Papers; copy, DLC: Alexander Hamilton Papers.

1This letter has not been found.

2Hamilton is advising GW in regard to an anticipated request by the House for copies of the instructions given John Jay concerning negotiations with Great Britain (see GW to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., 3 March, and n.1 to that document; for Jay’s instructions, dated 6 May 1794, see ASP, Foreign Relations, 1:472–74). The House on this date passed New York congressman Edward Livingston’s resolution asking for those instructions and related correspondence (Journal of the House, description begins The Journal of the House of Representatives: George Washington Administration 1789–1797. Edited by Martin P. Claussen. 9 vols. Wilmington, Del., 1977. description ends 8:278–80).

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