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to oliver wolcott - 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 oliver wolcott
June 15, 1796.
The post of to-day brought me a letter from you. From some recent information which I have obtained here, I have scarcely any doubt that the plan of the French is—
Firstly.—To take all enemy property in our ships contrary to the treaty between the two countries.
Secondly.—To seize and carry in all our vessels laden with provisions for any English port.
Among this, all that they choose to think enemy property will be seized, and for the residue they will promise to pay.
This state of things is extremely serious. The government must play a skilful card, or all is lost. No doubt an explanation has been asked of Mr. Adet. There is room enough for asking it, and the result, if explanatory, ought, in some convenient way, to be made known.
Moreover, the government must immediately set in earnest about averting the storm. To this end, a person must be sent in place of Monroe. General Pinckney, John Marshall, Mr. Desaussure, of South Carolina, young Washington, the lawyer, McHenry, Secretary at War, Judge Peters, occur as eligible in different degrees, either of them far preferable to Monroe. It may be understood that the appointment is permanent or temporary, at the choice of the person sent. Under this idea, perhaps Pinckney may be prevailed upon, perhaps Marshall, it being well urged as a matter of great importance to the country.
I mentioned to Colonel Pickering an idea, which has since dwelt powerfully on my mind. Mr. King ought not to be empowered to do any thing to prolong the treaty beyond the two years after the war. This will afford the government a strong argument. I earnestly hope this idea will prevail in the instructions.
P. S.—After turning the thing over and over in my mind, I know of nothing better that you have in your power than to send McHenry. He is not yet obnoxious to the French, and has been understood formerly to have had some kindness towards their revolution. His present office would give a sort of importance to the mission. If he should incline to an absolute relinquishment, his mission might be temporary, and Colonel Pickering could carry on his office in his absence. He is at hand, and might depart immediately, and I believe he would explain very well, and do no foolish thing. Though unusual, perhaps it might be expedient for the President to write, himself, a letter to the Executive Directory, explaining the policy by which he has been governed, and assuring of the friendship. But this would merit great consideration. Our measures, however, should be prompt.
Sometimes I think of sending Pinckney, who is in England; but various uncertainties and possible delays deter one from this plan.
Remember always, as a primary motive of action, that the favorable opinion of our country is to be secured.
A frigate or two to serve as convoys would not be amiss. If the English had been wise, they would neither have harassed our trade themselves, nor suffered their trade with us to be harassed. They would see this a happy moment for conciliating us by a clever little squadron in our ports and on our coast.
A hint might not perhaps do harm.