Front Page Titles (by Subject) to washington - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 10
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
to washington - 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.
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.
March 28, 1796.
I am mortified at not being able to send you by this post a certain draft. But the opinion that reasons ought to be given, and pretty fairly, has extended it to considerable length and a desire to make it accurate as to idea and expression keeps it still upon the anvil. But it is so far prepared that I can assure it by to-morrow’s post. Delay is always unpleasant. But the case is delicate and important enough to justify it.
I mentioned as my opinion, that the instructions to Mr. Jay, if published, would do harm. The truth, unfortunately, is that it is in general a crude mass, which will do no credit to the administration. This was my impression of it at the time, but the delicacy of attempting too much reformation in the work of another head of department, the hurry of the moment, and a great confidence in the person to be sent, prevented my attempting that reformation.
There are several particular points in it which would have a very ill effect to be published.
On the whole, I have no doubt that the publication of these instructions would do harm to the Executive, and to the character and interest of the government.
The draft will be so prepared as to admit of this conclusion.
If the President concludes to send papers, they ought only to be the commissions, and Mr. Jay’s correspondence, saying that these are all that it appears to him for the public interest to send.
But he may be then prepared for as much clamor as if he had sent none. It would be said that what was done showed that the principle had not been the obstacle—and that the instructions were withheld because they would not bear the light. Or, at most, only that part of the instructions should go which begins at these words, “4. This enumeration presents, generally, the objects which it is desirable to comprise in a commercial treaty,” etc., to the end of the instructions.
But after the fullest reflection I have been able to give the subject (though I perceive serious degrees of inconveniencies in the course), I entertain a final opinion that it will be best, after the usurpation attempted by the House of Representatives, to send none, and to resist in totality.