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to william bradford 1 - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 10 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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to william bradford1
Yours of the twenty-first of May, by going to Albany, did not reach me till yesterday. The expectation of Mr. Adet properly varied the course of proceeding. I am glad the impression with you corresponded with mine.
If Mr. Randolph showed Fauchet any part of the instructions to Mr. Jay, I do not much regret that he manifests displeasure at the withholding of a part. When shall we cease to consider ourselves as a colony of France? To assure her minister that the instructions to Mr. Jay contained nothing which could interfere with our engagements to France might, under all the circumstances, have been expedient; but to communicate specifically any part of the instructions to our envoy, was, in my judgment, improper in principle and precedent.
I expect the treaty will labor. It contains many good things, but there is one ingredient in it which displeases me—of a commercial complexion. I am, however, of opinion, on mature reflection, that it is expedient to ratify, accompanied by a declaration that it is our intention, till there be a further explanation and modification of the article, to forbear the exercise of a certain privilege, and consequently the performance of the condition of it, or some thing equivalent. This, it is true, may or may not be accepted. But I believe it will create no difficulty, and I would rather risk it than take the treaty unqualifiedly. I prefer this course to that of sending back the treaty for a new negotiation, because (among other reasons) it may save time, and more speedily close certain matters which I deem it very important to terminate. I am also glad to learn that, since the date of your letter, there have been some convictions of the insurgents. This was very essential to the permanent good effects of the measures which were pursued on that subject. You see, I have not entirely lost my appetite for a little politics; you must not infer that I have not a very good one for law.
P. S.—I had almost forgotten a principal object of this letter. It concerns the Marquis Lafayette. In conversation, I think, but certainly by letter (this entre nous), I suggested to Mr. Jay that, in case the treaty with Great Britain turned favorably, it will be well to hint to the British minister that the United States took a very particular interest in the welfare of Lafayette, and that the good offices of that country, to procure his liberation, would be regarded as a valuable mark of friendship. I believe I also had some conversation, in the same spirit, either with the President or the Secretary of State; but I do not remember if any thing was done. If the thing has not been tried, and if the treaty is ratified, will it not be advisable to instruct the person who is to exchange it, to accompany it with an observation of the above import? The moment will be a favorable one—and I imagine the time is fast approaching when Lafayette will recover his popularity in his own country. The chief thing against this is the rivalship of those who hold the power. But will they not be glad to consolidate their general plan by weight of a man who with all parties, has maintained the character of well-intentioned, and who probably has the good-will of the multitude, spite of all that has passed. I see no inconvenience in your taking occasion to ask Mr. Jay if the Marquis Lafayette was ever the subject of conversation between him and the British ministry, and how it terminated. And I will thank you, if you feel yourself at liberty, to let me know whether any thing like the step I have suggested obtains.2
William Bradford, of Pennsylvania, at this time Attorney-General of the United States. He had been a soldier of the Revolution and a judge and Attorney-General of Pennsylvania. He was a man of ability and character, and his premature death shortly after the date of this letter, on August 23, 1795, was deeply regretted.
Reprinted from the History of the Republic, vi., 216.