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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
April 5, 1797.
I have received your letter of March 31st. I hope nothing in my last was misunderstood. Could it be necessary, I would assure you that no one has a stronger conviction than myself of the purity of the motives which direct your public conduct, or of the good sense and judgment by which it is guided. If I have a fear (you will excuse my frankness), it is lest the strength of your feelings, the companions of energy of character, should prevent that pliancy to circumstances which is sometimes indispensable. I beg you only to watch yourself on this score, and the public will always find in you an able as well as a faithful servant.
The situation of our country, my dear sir, is singularly critical. The map of Europe is every way discouraging. There is too much reason to apprehend that the Emperor of Germany, in danger from Russia and Prussia, perhaps from the Porte, as well as from France, may be compelled to yield to the views of the latter. England, standing alone, may be driven to a similar issue. It is certain that great consternation in court and country attended the intelligence of Bonaparte’s last victories. Either to be in rupture with France, united with England alone, or singly, as is possible, would be a most unwelcome situation. Divided as we are, who can say what would be hazarded by it?
In such a situation, it appeared to me we should rather err on the side of condescension than on the opposite side. We ought to do every thing to avoid rupture, without unworthy sacrifices, and to keep in view, as a primary object, union at home.
No measure can tend more to this than an extra-ordinary mission. And it is certain to fulfil the ends proposed. It ought to embrace a character in whom France and the opposition have full credit. What risk can attend Madison, if combined, as I propose, with Pinckney and Cabot, or such a man (two deciding)? Depend on it, Pinckney is a man of honor, and loves his country. Cabot we both know. Besides, there ought to be certain leading instructions from which they may not deviate.
I agree with you that we have nothing to retract; that we ought to risk every thing before we submit to any dishonorable terms. But we may remould our treaties. We may agree to put France on the same footing as Great Britain by our treaty with her. We may also liquidate, with a view to future wars, the import of the mutual guaranty in the treaty of alliance, substituting specific succors, and defining the casus fæderis. But this last may or may not be done, though with me it is a favorite object.
Ingersol will not fulfil the object, but I would rather have him than do nothing.
I am clearly of opinion with you that the President shall come forward to Congress in a manly tone, and that Congress shall adopt vigorous defensive measures. Those you propose are proper, and some others on which I may write hereafter.
If Madison is well coupled, I do not think his intrigues can operate as you imagine. Should he advocate dishonorable concessions to France, the public opinion will not support. His colleagues, by address, and showing a disposition to do enough, may easily defeat his policy, and maintain the public confidence. Besides that, it is possible too much may be taken for granted with regard to Mr. Madison.