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.
July 5, 1796.
I was in due time favored with your letter of the 26th June, and consulted the gentleman you named on the subject of it. We are both of opinion there is no power in the President to appoint an envoy extraordinary, without the concurrence of the Senate, and that the information in question is not a sufficient ground for extraordinary convening the Senate. If, however, the President from his information collectively be convinced that a dangerous state of things exists between us and France, and that an envoy extraordinary to avert the danger is a necessary measure, I believe this would, in the sense of the Constitution, warrant the calling of the Senate for the purpose. But this measure may be questionable in point of expediency, as giving a stronger appearance of danger than facts warrant. If further depredations on our commerce take place, if new revivals of the principle of the last capture should appear, it may alter the case. But without some thing more the measure would scarcely seem advisable. Mr. Jay and myself, though somewhat out of your question, talked of the expediency of removing Monroe, and though we perceive there are weighty reasons against it, we think those for it preponderate, if a proper man can be found. But here we feel, both immense embarrassment, for he ought to be at the same time a friend to the government and understood to be not unfriendly to the French Revolution. General Pinckney is the only man we can think of who fully satisfies the idea, and unfortunately every past experiment forbids the hope that he would accept, though but for a short time. But if a character of tolerable fitness can be thought of, it would seem expedient to send him. At any rate, it is to be feared, if under the symptoms of discontent which have appeared on the part of the French government, no actual and full explanation takes place, it will bring serious censure upon the Executive. It will be said that it did not display as much zeal to avoid misunderstanding with France as with Great Britain; that discontents were left to rankle; that if the agent of the government in France was negligent or unfaithful, some other mode ought to have been found.
As to your resignation, sir, it is not to be regretted that the declaration of your intention should be suspended as long as possible, and suffer me to add that you should really hold the thing undecided to the last moment. I do not think it is in the power of party to throw any slur upon the lateness of your declaration. And you have an obvious justification in the state of things. If a storm gathers, how can you retreat? This is a most serious question. The proper period now for your declaration seems to be two months before the time for the meeting of the electors. This will be sufficient. The parties will in the meantime electioneer conditionally, that is to say, if you decline; for a serious opposition to you will, I think, hardly be risked. I have completed the first draft (his own draft) of a certain paper, and shall shortly transcribe, correct, and forward it. I will then also prepare and send forward, without delay, the original paper (Washington’s draft), corrected upon the general plan of it, so that you may have both before you for a choice in full time, and for alternation if necessary.1
Reprinted from the History of the Republic, ii., 468, 522.