to richard harrison
Jan. 5, 1793.
Le Roy has not yet appeared with the powers and receipts mentioned in your letter of the 31st December. Every practicable facility will be given to the business when it comes forward. But I believe, according to the course of the Treasury, a certificate, not money, will be given for the balance. Your account is returned with directory remarks upon it. I am sorry you should have the trouble of so many different applications, but the course of public business requires it.
I am more sorry that we have been deprived of the pleasure of seeing you. Every friend I see from a place I love is a cordial to me, and I stand in need of something of that kind now and then.
The triumphs of vice are no new thing under the sun, and I fear, till the millennium comes, in spite of all our boasted light and purification, hypocrisy and treachery will continue to be the most successful commodities in the political market. It seems to be the destined lot of nations to mistake their foes for their friends, their flatterers for their faithful servants.
to william short
Feb. 5, 1793.
The spirit of party has grown to maturity sooner in this country than perhaps was to have been counted upon. You will see a specimen of it in the inclosed speech of Mr. Giles, a member from Virginia. The House of Representatives adopted the resolutions proposed by him, nemine contradicente. The object, with a majority, was to confound the attempt, by giving a free course to investigation.
I send you, also, a printed copy of a letter from me to the House of Representatives, of yesterday’s date being the first part of an answer to those resolutions. The statements referred to in it could not yet be printed, but lest the thing should pass the Atlantic and be made an ill use of to the prejudice of our country, I send you the antidote, to be employed or not, as you may see occasion.
An investigation intended to prejudice me is begun with respect to the circumstances attending the last payment on account of the French debt, which, in its progress, may draw your conduct into question. I think, however, you need be under no anxiety for the result. Your hesitations, at a certain stage, were so natural, and your reasons so weighty for them, that they will give little handle against you, besides the coincidence in opinion here about the expediency of a suspension of payment. The popular tide in this country is strong in favor of the last revolution in France; and there are many who go, of course, with that tide, and endeavor always to turn it to account. For my own part, I content myself with praying most sincerely that it may issue in the real advantage and happiness of the nation.
to rufus king
April 2, 1793.
My Dear Sir:
When you are acquainted with all the facts, I think you will alter the opinion you appear to entertain. My application comes literally within your rule. The loan is necessary for the current expenditure, independent of any new advance to France, or of purchases of the debt. This has arisen from my having been under the necessity of remitting to Holland, for a payment in June of 1,000,000 guilders, as an instalment of the principal, and 470,000 guilders for interest of the Dutch debt.
Late advices rendering it problematical whether a loan could be obtained for the purpose of the instalment, it became necessary to make this remittance to avoid danger to the public credit.
Hence, without a loan from the bank, I ought to calculate upon a deficiency in the present quarter (remember we are in April) of 672,023 dollars and 26 cents, and in the next, of 325,447 dollars and 28 cents.
This is the result of as accurate a view of receipts and expenditures as can now be taken. You will anticipate that, by all the expenditures not falling actually within the periods to which they are applicable, the real deficiency would not be so great as the calculated; but you will, at the same time, perceive that the view given supposes a state of the Treasury which renders an auxiliary indispensable.
At the same time, I cannot but think that you apply your principle too rigorously. I ought not to be forced to divert for a length of time funds appropriated for other purposes, to the current expenditure. To compel this would be, in substance to withhold the means necessary for the public service; for it would oblige the Treasury to employ an adventitious resource, which ought not be so employed, and that too at a time when it could be employed advantageously, according to its original and true destination. I therefore think, independent of the real exigency, the bank ought to make the loan.
The loans to government stand on very different considerations from those to individuals. Besides the chartered privileges, which are the grant of the government, the vast deposits constantly on hand, and which ordinarily exceed the loans from the bank, frequently very greatly, are an advantage which, generally speaking, bears no proportion to the advantages of the dealings between individuals and the bank. Consider, too, what has been the state of things for some time past, and the real sacrifices which have been made not to distress the institution.
If for such accommodations equivalent services are not to be rendered, they could not easily be defended.
Besides, from the necessity of having a considerable sum on hand in the Treasury, and the natural course of the business, the bank is pretty sure of having always on deposit a large part of what it lends to the government. This does not exist in any thing like the same degree, in the case of individuals.
You seem to calculate that the past advances will not be replaced. On the contrary, it is my intention, pursuant to stipulation, to repay as fast as the funds come in applicable to it; and in the last quarter of the year I hope to make a considerable progress in the reimbursement; till then, it will not be practicable.
I do not know whether Mr. Kane stated to you the nature of my proposal. It was that the payments should be made in four equal monthly instalments—the first on the first of June—and that each instalment should be reimbursed in six months. The real advance of the bank will be very temporary indeed before greater sums will come into its vaults from the duties. In the last quarter of the present and the first quarter of the ensuing year, very large receipts may be expected.
You are sure that while I seek to put myself in a proper posture, I shall not fail to have a due regard to the safety of the institution.
It is much to be wished that I could be enabled to make some purchases, though this will not be the case with the loan in question, unless a loan shall also have been obtained in Europe.
A meeting of the commissioners has lately been called by Mr. Jefferson, out of the course heretofore practised, in which I have been pressed to declare whether I had or had not funds applicable to purchases. I answered so as to be safe. But you readily perceive the design of this movement. There is no doubt in my mind that the next session will revive the attack with more system and earnestness—and it is surely not the interest of any body or any thing that a serious handle should be furnished.
On the whole, I am persuaded that the bank can do what I ask without real inconvenience to itself; and my situation is such that I shall be compelled to find an auxiliary.
All the cry here is for peace. How is it with you?
April 5, 1793.
The ship John Buckley is just arrived here from Lisbon, which place she left on the 23d of February.
The Messrs. Walns, a respectable mercantile house here, have received a letter from Mr. John Buckley, a respectable merchant of Lisbon, after whom the ship is named, of which the following is an extract:
“By letters from France, by this day’s post, we find that an embargo took place there the 2d instant on all English, Russian, and Dutch vessels, which is certainly the prelude of war.” This letter is dated the 22d of February.
Messrs. Walns, in addition, inform ———, that on the 23d of February, the moment the ship was getting under way, Mr. Buckley came on board with a letter from Mr. Fenwick, of Bordeaux, informing him that war had been declared by France against England, Russia, and Holland. The foregoing particulars I have directly from the Walns.
The report in the city is that the war was declared on the 8th of February.
Combining this with the letter of Lord Grenville to Mr. Chauvelin, requiring his departure, and the King’s message to the House of Commons, founded upon it—there seems to be no room for doubt of the existence of war.
P.S.—I this instant learn that there are English papers in town, by way of St. Vincent, which mention that on the 8th of February the late Queen of France was also put to death, after a trial and condemnation.
April 8, 1793.
The papers of to-day, which I take it for granted are forwarded to you, will inform you of the confirmation of the war between France, England, and Holland, and of such other leading particulars as are contained in the English papers brought by the packet.
The object of this letter is merely to apprise you that the whole current of commercial intelligence, which comes down to the 11th of February, indicates thus far an unexceptionable conduct on the part of the British Government towards the vessels of the United States.
The information is received here with very great satisfaction, as favorable to the continuance of peace, the desire of which may be said to be both universal and ardent.
P. S.—Lest the papers may not be regularly transmitted, I enclose the two of this morning.
to john jay
April 9, 1793.
When we last conversed together on the subject, we were both of opinion that the minister expected from France should be received.
Subsequent circumstances have perhaps induced an additional embarrassment on this point, and render it advisable to reconsider the opinion generally, and to raise this further question, Whether he ought to be received absolutely or with qualifications. The king has been decapitated. Out of this will arise a regent, acknowledged and supported by the powers of Europe almost universally, in capacity to act, and who may himself send an ambassador to the United States. Should we in such case receive both? If we receive one from the republic and refuse the other, shall we stand on ground perfectly neutral? If we receive a minister from the republic, shall we be afterward at liberty to say, We will not decide whether there is a government in France competent to demand from us the performance of the existing treaties? What the government of France shall be is the very point in dispute. Till that is decided, the applicability of the treaties is suspended. When that government is established, we shall consider whether such changes had been made as to render their continuance incompatible with the interest of the United States. If we shall not have concluded ourselves by any act, I am of opinion that we have at least a right to hold the thing suspended. Till the point in dispute is decided, I doubt whether we could bona fide dispute the ultimate obligation of the treaties. Will the unqualified reception of a minister conclude us? If it will, ought we so to conclude ourselves? Ought we not rather to refuse receiving, or to receive with qualifications; declaring that we receive the person as the representative of the government, in fact, of the French nation, reserving to ourselves the right to consider the applicability of the treaties to the actual situation of the parties? These are questions which require our utmost wisdom. I would give a great deal for a personal discussion with you. Imprudent things have already been done, which render it proportionally important that every succeeding step should be well considered.
to john jay
April 9, 1793.
My Dear Sir:
I have already written you by this post. A further question occurs—Would not a proclamation prohibiting our citizens from taking commissions on either side be proper? Would it be well that it should include a declaration of neutrality? If you think the measure prudent, could you draught such a thing as you would deem proper? I wish much you could.
to rufus king
May 2, 1793.
The failures in England will be so seriously felt in this country as to involve a real crisis in our money concerns.
I anxiously wish you could be here to assist in the operations of the Bank of the United States. Never was there a time which required more the union of courage and prudence than the present and approaching juncture. You can imagine all that I could add on this subject. It is possible for you to spend a month with us?
May 3, 1793.
I regret extremely that I did not receive your letter respecting Mr. Ternant’s application till two o’clock yesterday, after a warrant had issued in his favor for the sum requested.
Agreeing entirely in opinion with you, that all applications from diplomatic characters, as well those relating to pecuniary matters as others, ought to be addressed to your department, I should have taken no step on the present occasion, had it not been put on the footing of a previous arrangement (as you will perceive by the copy of Mr. Ternant’s note to me), and had I not myself carried along in my mind a general impression that the spirit of what had passed would comprise the advance requested in the particular case.
For greater caution, however, I thought it advisable to mention the matter to the President, which was followed (if I remember right, upon my own suggestion) by the conversation which I had with you.
You will remember that though your recollection at the time of what had passed from you agreed with what had been the result of your subsequent examination, yet you expressed an opinion that in the special case (adhering as a general rule to the spirit of your late communication) it ought to be advisable to make the advance desired, as it would be well “to part friends.” And it was at my request, subsequent to this declaration, that you engaged to review your communications to Mr. Ternant.
Having told Mr. Ternant that the matter would be terminated the day succeeding his application—not having heard from you on that day—understanding it to be your opinion that, on the whole, it would be well to make the advance,—I waited on the President yesterday morning, stated what had passed between us, and obtained his consent for making the advance.
I am thus particular from a desire that you may see the ground upon which I have proceeded, as it would give me pain that you should consider what has been done as the infringement of a rule of official propriety. I assure you this was not my intention.
You ask me if the newspapers of Philadelphia give a true picture of the conduct of its citizens on the occasion of the arrival of Mr. Genet, and whether the great body of them are really as indiscreet as those papers represent them.
It gives me pleasure to be able to answer you in the negative. I can assure you upon the best evidence that, comparatively speaking, but a small proportion of them have had agency in the business.
Though the papers, on the morning of the day of Mr. Genet’s arrival, announced his approach, and at ——— o’clock ———, three guns were fired from the frigate as a signal to those who were disposed to go to meet him at Gray’s ferry, as had been previously concerted and notified in the papers, and though we are told by some of the printers that all the outlets from the city were crowded with persons going out to meet Mr. Genet, the fact is that a very inconsiderable number indeed went out. It is seldom easy to speak with absolute certainty in such cases, but from all I could observe or have been able to learn, I believe the number would be stated high at a hundred persons.
In the evening of the same day, according to notice in an evening paper which came out earlier than usual for the purpose, a meeting was convened at the State House yard under the direction of the same persons who had projected the going out to Gray’s. This meeting was also inconsiderable. From forty to one hundred persons give you the extremes of the numbers present, as reported by those who were at the meeting or in a situation to observe it.
Here a committee was appointed to prepare an address to Mr. Genet; and another meeting of the citizens was advertised for the ensuing evening at the same place, the object of which, it seems, was to consider and approve the address.
This last meeting is stated differently from three hundred to one thousand. An accurate observer, who was a by-stander and paid particular attention to the matter, assures me that there were between five and six hundred assembled. I rely upon this as about the truth.
The persons who were met approved the address which had been prepared, and, as you have seen, nominated a committee to present it, whom they accompanied to Mr. Genet’s lodging at the City Tavern.
On their way to the City Tavern their number was, as you will imagine, considerably increased. A crowd will always draw a crowd, whatever be the purpose. Curiosity will supply the place of attachment to or interest in the object. What number may have been assembled in the vicinity of the City Tavern, it is impossible to say. The evening being pretty far advanced, was alone an obstacle to judging.
But the true test was the meeting in the State House yard. ’T is there we are to look for the real partisans of the measure. And, according to this standard, it may be pronounced that not a tenth part of the city participated in it.
You ask who were its promoters. I answer, that with very few exceptions they were the same men who have been uniformly the enemies and the disturbers of the government of the United States. It will not be surprising if we see ere long a curious combination growing up to control its measures, with regard to foreign politics, at the expense of the peace of the country—perhaps at a still greater expense.
We too have our disorganizers. But I trust there is enough of virtue and good sense in the people of America to baffle every attempt against their prosperity, though masked under the specious garb of an extraordinary zeal for liberty. They practically, I doubt not, adopt this sacred maxim, that without government there is no true liberty.
I agree with you in the reflections you make on the tendency of public demonstrations of attachment to the cause of France. ’T is certainly not wise to expose ourselves to the jealousy and resentment of the rest of the world, by a fruitless display of zeal for that cause. It may do us much harm, and it can do France no good (unless indeed we are to embark in the war with her, which nobody is so hardy as to avow, though some secretly machinate it). It cannot be without danger and inconvenience to our interests to impress on the nations of Europe an idea that we are actuated by the same spirit which has for some time past fatally misguided the measures of those who conduct the affairs of France, and sullied a cause once glorious, and that might have been triumphant. The cause of France is compared with that of America during its late revolution. Would to Heaven that the comparison were just. Would to Heaven we could discern in the mirror of French affairs the same humanity, the same decorum, the same gravity, the same order, the same dignity, the same solemnity, which distinguished the cause of the American Revolution. Clouds and darkness would not then rest upon the issue as they now do. I own I do not like the comparison. When I contemplate the horrid and systematic massacres of the 2d and 3d of September; when I observe that a Marat and a Robespierre, the notorious prompters of those bloody scenes, sit triumphantly in the convention and take a conspicuous part in its measures—that an attempt to bring the assassins to justice has been obliged to be abandoned; when I see an unfortunate prince, whose reign was a continued demonstration of the goodness and benevolence of his heart, of his attachment to the people of whom he was the monarch, who, though educated in the lap of despotism, had given repeated proofs that he was not the enemy of liberty, brought precipitately and ignominiously to the block without any substantial proof of guilt, as yet disclosed—without even an authentic exhibition of motives, in decent regard to the opinions of mankind; when I find the doctrines of atheism openly advanced in the convention, and heard with loud applause; when I see the sword of fanaticism extended to force a political creed upon citizens who were invited to submit to the arms of France as the harbingers of liberty; when I behold the hand of rapacity outstretched to prostrate and ravish the monuments of religious worship, erected by those citizens and their ancestors; when I perceive passion, tumult, and violence usurping those seats, where reason and cool deliberation ought to preside, I acknowledge that I am glad to believe there is no real resemblance between what was the cause of America and what is the cause of France—that the difference is no less great than that between liberty and licentiousness. I regret whatever has a tendency to compound them, and I feel anxious, as an American, that the ebullitions of inconsiderate men among us may not tend to involve our reputation in the issue.
to rufus king
June 15, 1793.
The ideas expressed in your letter of the 14th correspond with my view of the subject in general. I did not perceive that any process could be devised to detain the privateer, and concluded that the issue would be to leave her in military custody. Indeed, I believe this was rather the expectation with all, though it was thought advisable to make the experiment of a reference to the civil tribunal.
With regard to the Catharine, I also entertain the doubt you appear to have. In the case of the Grange, the surrender was brought about by a demand of Mr. Genet and his interposition. But it was in contemplation of employing the military in case of refusal.
Yet, since that time, a libel has been filed in the District Court in the case of another vessel alleged to have been captured within the limits of our jurisdiction. And both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Rawle, Attorney of the District, hold that the District or Admiralty Court will take cognizance of this question. They argue that it would be a great chasm in the law that there should not be some competent judicial authority to do justice between parties in the case of an illegal seizure within our jurisdiction. That the Court of Admiralty has naturally cognizance of tortious takings on the high seas, and as she gives relief in rem, may cause a re-delivery. That though, as a general principle, a court of a neutral nation will not examine the question of prize or not prize between belligerent powers, yet this principle must except the case of the infraction of the jurisdiction of the neutral power itself. Quoad this fact, its courts will interpose and give relief.
This is their reasoning, and it has much force. The desire of the Executive is to have the point ascertained, and if possible to put the affair in this train. There may arise nice difficulties about the fact, and nice points about the extent of jurisdiction at sea, which the courts had best settle.
The contest in form must, as you say, be between the owners and the captors. For this purpose Mr. Hammond is to cause the proper instructions to be given.
There is a letter from me to Harrison. If Troup has not opened it, let him do it.
to gen. otho h. williams
(Private and Confidential.)
June 21, 1793.
My Dear Sir:
I learnt with real pleasure your return from the West Indies in improved health. Be assured that I interest myself with friendship in your welfare.
The Collector of Annapolis has announced his intention to resign by the first of next month. Do you know a character there fit and probably willing to serve? There is a salary of 200 dollars a year, besides the percentage and fees. The whole, however, is moderate enough.
If any inquiry is made, it must be so as to avoid all possible commitment. For it is the President’s practice to seek information through different channels and to decide according to the result of the whole.
June 21, 1793.
Considerations relative to both the public interest and to my own delicacy have brought me, after mature reflection, to a resolution to resign the office I hold towards the close of the ensuing session of Congress.
I postpone the final act to that period, because some propositions remain to be submitted by me to Congress which are necessary to the full development of my original plan, and, as I suppose, of some consequence to my reputation, and because, in the second place, I am desirous of giving an opportunity, while I shall still be in office, to the revival and more deliberate prosecution of the inquiry into my conduct which was instituted during the last session.
I think it proper to communicate my determination thus early, among other reasons, because it will afford full time to investigate and weigh all the considerations which ought to guide the appointment of my successor.
to one of the creditors of col. duer
Poor Duer has now had a long and severe confinement, such as would be adequate punishment for no trifling crime. I am well aware of all the blame to which he is liable and do not mean to be his apologist, though I believe he has been as much the dupe of his own imagination as others have been the victims of his projects. But what then? He is a man—he is a man with whom we have both been in habits of friendly intimacy. He is a man who, with a great deal of good zeal, has in critical times rendered valuable services to the country. He is a husband who has a most worthy and amiable wife perishing with chagrin at his situation; your relation by blood, mine by marriage. He is a father who has a number of fine children destitute of the means of education and support, every way in need of his future exertions.
These are titled to sympathy, which I shall be mistaken if you do not feel. You are his creditor. Your example may influence others. He wants permission, through a letter of license, to breathe the air for five years. Your signature to the inclosed draft of one will give me much pleasure.
to rufus king
Aug. 13, 1793.
The post of to-day brought me your letter of the 10th, but I was too much engaged to reply to it by return of post.
The facts with regard to Mr. Genet’s threat, to appeal from the President to the people, stand thus:
On Saturday, the 6th of July last, the warden of this port reported to Governor Mifflin that the brig Little Sarah, since called the Petit Democrat (an English merchant vessel, mounting from two to four guns, taken off our coast by the French frigate the Ambuscade, and brought into this port), had very materially altered her military equipments, having then fourteen iron cannon and six swivels mounted, and it being understood that her crew was to consist of one hundred and twenty men.
Governor Mifflin, in consequence of this information, sent Mr. Dallas to Mr. Genet to endeavor to prevail upon him to enter into an arrangement for detaining the vessel in port, without the necessity of employing for that purpose military force.
Mr. Dallas reported to Governor Mifflin that Mr. Genet had absolutely refused to do what had been requested of him, that he had been very angry and intemperate, that he had complained of ill-treatment from the government, and had declared that “he would appeal from the President to the people”; mentioned his expectation of the arrival of three ships of the line, observing that he would know how to do justice to his country, or, at least, he had a frigate at his command, and could easily withdraw himself from this; said that he would not advise an attempt to take possession of the vessel, as it would be resisted.
The refusal was so peremptory that Governor Mifflin, in consequence of it, ordered out 120 men for the purpose of taking possession of the vessel.
This conversation between Genet and Dallas was in toto repeated by General Mifflin to General Knox the day following, and the day after that the governor confirmed to me the declaration with regard to appealing to the people, owned that something like the threat to do justice to his country by means of the ships of the line was thrown out by Mr. Genet, but showed an unwillingness to be explicit on this point, objecting to a more particular disclosure, that it would tend to bring Mr. Dallas into a scrape.
Mr. Jefferson, on Sunday, went to Mr. Genet, to endeavor to prevail upon him to detain the Petit Democrat until the President could return and decide upon the case, but, as Mr. Jefferson afterwards communicated, he absolutely refused to give a promise of the kind, saying only that she would not probably be ready to depart before the succeeding Wednesday, the day of the President’s expected return. This, however, Mr. Jefferson construed into an intimation that she would remain. Mr. Jefferson also informed that Mr. Genet had been very unreasonable and intemperate in his conversation (though he did not descend to particulars), and that Dallas had likewise told him (Mr. Jefferson) that Genet had declared he would appeal from the President to the people.
The Petit Democrat, instead of remaining, as Mr. Jefferson had concluded, fell down to Chester previous to the Wednesday referred to, where she was when the President returned. A letter was written to Mr. Genet, by order of the President, informing him that the case of the vessel, among others, was under consideration, and desiring that she might be detained until he should come to a decision about her, but this requisition was disregarded. She departed in defiance of it.
I give this detail that you may have the whole subject before you, but I cannot authorize you to make use of it all. The circumstance of the letter may be omitted. It may be said generally that a requisition was made of Mr. Genet, by order of the President, for the detention of the vessel. All that part, however, which is scored or underlined, may be freely made up. This part is so circumstanced as to take away all scruples of personal or political delicacy. ’T is not so with the rest. It can therefore only be confidentially disclosed to persons whose discretion may be relied on, and whose knowledge of it may be useful.
It is true (as you have heard) that things, if possible still more insulting, have since been done by Mr. Genet; but of this at present no use can be made, no more than of some antecedent transactions nearly, if not quite, as exceptional. The mass would confound Mr. Genet and his associates. Perhaps it may not be long before a promulgation will take place.
I am of opinion with you that the charge ought to be insisted upon.
P. S.—The case does not require the naming General Knox or myself, and it will therefore not be done. It is to be observed that the equipments of the Petit Democrat are, in the strictest sense, an original fitting out. She was before a merchant vessel; here she was converted into a vessel commissioned for war, of considerable force.
to rufus king
My Dear Sir:
It is not yet finally determined that there shall be a publication, and there has been some difference of opinion on the point. But it seems to me the publication of the letters renders it indispensable that the whole should be told. Yet, when it appears, it will probably include only what is regularly official, so that the present question may be pursued independently.
Perhaps you will not think it necessary at first to say to whom Dallas reported the conversation. Yet, if you deem it essential, it may be done, and should it be finally necessary, which is not at all probable, General Knox and myself will come forward as witnesses.
to mrs. general greene
Sept. 3, 1793.
It is not an uncommon thing for you women to bring us poor men into scrapes. It seems you have brought me into one. You will wonder how. Hear the tale.
Shortly after I came into office, Wadsworth informed me that Baron Glaubeck was indebted to General Greene (to whom he had behaved in a very exceptionable manner), and that it was intended to endeavor to purchase of Glaubeck some pay which had been just granted to him by Congress, upon the plan of advancing to him a certain sum of money to satisfy his immediate necessities, and the residue that was due to him to be applied towards the indemnification of the General’s estate for what Glaubeck owed to it. I afterwards understood that the execution of this plan was committed to Flint or Duer, or one or both of them, and that a purchase of the claim was, in fact, made—not, indeed, to Glaubeck, but of some person to whom he had parted with it for some trifling consideration—the object being throughout to benefit you by way of indemnification as above mentioned.
It likewise would appear from the Treasury records that you have in fact received the whole benefit of the purchase. The conversations we had together when you were last in Philadelphia assure me at least that the certificate for four fifths of his claim accrued immediately to your use.
Francis, late a clerk in my department (partly from resentment at a disappointment he has met with at the Treasury, and partly, I believe, from it having been made worth his while by some political enemies of mine), endeavors to have it believed that this transaction was a speculation in which I was engaged, and in proof of it, shows a draft of a power of attorney, corrected by some interlineations in my handwriting, as he asserts.
I do not recollect this part of the business, though I think it very possible that such a correction, in such a draft, may have been made by me.
For Duer or Flint, it seems, employed Francis to make the purchase, and it is not unlikely that a draft of a power for the purpose may have been brought to me, to know from me whether it would answer the purpose of the Treasury as a competent instrument, and that I (believing the design to be such as I have represented—one not only unexceptionable, but laudable—one in which my friendship for you would naturally take part), may have taken up my pen and made such corrections as the draft might appear to stand in need of.
I give you this detail to show you how I may have been implicated.
What I wish of you is that you will have the goodness to state in writing what you know of the affair, ascertaining that the purchase was for your benefit and the cause of it, and that you will take the trouble to make affidavit to the statement, and forward it to me.
As it is an affair of delicacy, I will thank you to request some gentleman of the law to give form and precision to your narrative.
You perceive that it is not in one way only that I am the object of unprincipled persecution; but I console myself with these lines of the poet—
- But optics sharp it needs, I ween,
- To see what is not to be seen;
and with this belief, that in spite of calumny the friends I love and esteem will continue to love and esteem me.
to jeremiah wadsworth
Sept. 3, 1793.
My Dear Wadsworth:
Shortly after I came into office I remember your having told me that Glaubeck (whom you represented as a worthless and ungrateful fellow) was indebted to General Green’s estate, I think for money lent him, and that it was your intention to endeavor to effect a purchase of his public claim, and allow him some part of it for his immediate necessities, letting the residue be an indemnification [original illegible] estate; or, in other words, go to the [original illegible] that he would [original illegible] something [original illegible] you left the city; that you had left the business in charge with Flint.
The purchase of the claim was afterwards made through a second hand, and it appears in fact that Mrs. Greene has had the benefit of it.
Francis, lately a clerk in my department, prompted partly by resentment and partly, I believe, by some political enemies, gives out that I assisted in this affair as a speculation, and, to prove it, shows the draft of a power for assigning the claim, with some corrections, which are said to be in my handwriting.
Whether this be so or not I really do not now recollect, but I think it very possible that, having understood the matter in the light I have stated from you, and viewing the transaction [original illegible] precision the course of the transaction as it stands in your recollection, particularly what passed between you and myself in the first instance. If not inconvenient to you, I should even be glad that you would attest to it.
to miss angelica hamilton
September 21, 1793.
I was very glad to learn, my dear daughter, that you were going to begin the study of the French language. We hope you will in every respect behave in such a manner as will secure to you the good-will and regard of all those with whom you are. If you happen to displease any of them, be always ready to make a frank apology. But the best way is to act with so much politeness, good manners, and circumspection as never to have occasion to make any apology. Your mother joins in best love to you. Adieu, my very dear daughter.
October 1, 1793.
Contemptible as you are, what answer could I give to your last letter? The enclosed is a copy of what shortly will appear in one of the gazettes of the City of New York:
“One Andrew G. Francis, late clerk in the Treasury Department, has been endeavoring to have it believed that he is possessed of some facts of a nature to criminate the official conduct of the Secretary of the Treasury, an idea to which, for obvious reasons, an extensive circulation has been given by a certain description of persons.
“The public may be assured that the said Francis has been regularly and repeatedly called upon to declare the grounds of his suggestion, that he has repeatedly evaded the inquiry, that he possesses no facts of the nature pretended, and that he is a despicable calumniator.”
to colonel olney
Nov. 26, 1793.
Some embarrassment has arisen on the subject of a fit person for District Attorney of Rhode Island. Mr. Howell has been strongly recommended on the one hand, and positively objected to on another, and Mr. ——— has been proposed in opposition. Your opinion does not appear on either side.
The President is desirous of further information, and I have undertaken to procure it for him. In addressing myself to you on the point, I proceed on an assurance of your judgment and candor. I request your ideas of the candidates fully and freely, promising that it shall not in any shape compromit you. Be so good as to state not only the qualifications of each, but the collateral circumstances affecting the public service, which will be likely to attend the appointment of either.
It is regretted that the affair has assumed too much a party complexion. This suggests an inquiry whether there be not some third character competent, eligible, and who would not be liable to a similar difficulty. The more speedy your answer, the more it will oblige.