Front Page Titles (by Subject) washington to hamilton (Cabinet Paper.) - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 4
washington to hamilton (Cabinet Paper.) - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 4 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 4.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
washington to hamilton
April 18, 1793.
Sir:—The posture of affairs in Europe, particularly between France and Great Britain, places the United States in a delicate situation, and requires much consideration as to the measures which it will be proper for them to observe in the war between those Powers. With a view to forming a general plan of conduct for the Executive, I have stated and inclosed sundry questions, to be considered preparatory to a meeting at my house to-morrow, where I shall expect to see you at nine o’clock, and to receive the result of your reflections thereon.
- Question 1.—Shall a proclamation issue for the purpose of preventing interferences of the citizens of the United States in the war between France and Great Britain, etc.? Shall it contain a declaration of neutrality or not? What shall it contain?
- Question 2.—Shall a minister from the republic of France be received?
- Question 3.—If received, shall it be absolutely, or with qualifications; and if with qualifications, of what kind?
- Question 4.—Are the United States obliged, by good faith, to consider the treaties heretofore made with France, as applying to the present situation of the parties? May they either renounce them, or hold them suspended till the government of France shall be established?
- Question 5.—If they have the right, is it expedient to do either, and which?
- Question 6.—If they have an option, would it be a breach of neutrality to consider the treaties still in operation?
- Question 7.—If the treaties are to be considered as now in operation, is the guaranty in the treaty of alliance applicable to a defensive war only, or to war either offensive or defensive?
- Question 8.—Does the war in which France is engaged appear to be offensive or defensive on her part, or of a mixed and equivocal character?
- Question 9.—If of a mixed and equivocal character, does the guaranty, in any event, apply to such a war?
- Question 10.—What is the effect of a guaranty, such as that to be found in the treaty of alliance between the United States and France?
- Question 11.—Does any article in either of the treaties prevent ships of war, other than privateers, of the Powers opposed to France, from coming into the ports of the United States, to act as convoys to their own merchantmen? or does it lay other restraints upon them, more than would apply to the ships of war of France?
- Question 12.—Should the future regent of France send a minister to the United States, ought he to be received?
- Question 13.—Is it necessary or advisable to call together the two Houses of Congress, with a view to the present posture of European affairs? If it is, what should be the particular objects of such a call?
April 19, 1793.
At a meeting of the Heads of Departments, and the Attorney-General, at the President’s, April 19, 1793, to consider the foregoing questions proposed by the President, it was determined by all, on the first question, that a proclamation shall issue, forbidding our citizens to take part in any hostilities on the seas, with or against any of the belligerent Powers; and warning them against carrying to any such Powers, any of those articles deemed contraband, according to the modern usage of nations; and enjoining them from all acts and proceedings inconsistent with the duties of a friendly nation towards those at war.
On the second question, “Shall a minister from the republic of France be received?” it was unanimously agreed that he shall be received.
The remaining questions were postponed for further consideration.