Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798)
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TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XIII (1794-1798) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XIII (1794-1798).
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TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON.
Philadelphia, 22 January, 1797.
My dear Sir,
Your letter of the 19th inst., was received yesterday. From the general impression made on my mind, relative to the claim of M. de Neufville1 on the justice of this country, a delay or a refusal to administer it would be hard; but I must add, that I am too little acquainted with the particulars to form a correct opinion, and, were it otherwise, I do not see how I could with propriety appear directly or indirectly in the business, as I do not recollect having had any agency therein. The numberless applications of this sort, which are made to me, (often in the dernier resort,) without the means of relief, are very distressing to my feelings.
The conduct of France towards this country is, according to my ideas of it, outrageous beyond conception; not to be warranted by her treaty with us, by the Law of Nations, by any principle of justice, or even by a regard to decent appearances. From such considerations something might have been expected; but, on her professions of friendship and loving-kindness toward us I built no hope; but rather supposed they would last as long and no longer, than it accorded with their interest to bestow them, or found it would not divert us from the observance of that strict neutrality, which we had adopted and was persevering in.
In a few days there will be published a statement of facts, in a letter with references, to General Pinckney, containing full answers to all the charges exhibited in M. Adet’s Notes against the conduct of this government. After reading them with attention, I would thank you for your sentiments thereon fully and frankly communicated; and what you think ought further to be attempted to preserve this country in Peace, consistently with the respect which is due to ourselves.1
In some of the gazettes, and in conversation also, it is suggested, that an envoy extraordinary ought to be sent to France; but is not General Pinckney gone there already for the express purpose of explaining matters and removing inquietudes? With what more could another be charged? What would that Gentleman think of having a person treading on his heels, by the time he had arrived in Paris, when the arguments used to induce him to go there are all that could be urged to influence that other? And where is the character to be had, admitting the necessity, in all respects, acceptable and qualified for such a trust? The sooner you can give me your sentiments on these queries the more pleasing will they be to, dear Sir, your sincere friend, &c.
[1 ]M. de Neufville, of Holland, had rendered important political services to the United States, in promoting loans in that country, and in various pecuniary transactions. By reason of these services his affairs became embarrassed, and he died leaving his family in distressed circumstances. His widow came to the United States, with the view of petitioning Congress for relief, and Mr. Hamilton wrote to the President on the subject of her claim. “I do not know,” said he, “what the case admits of; but, from some papers which she showed me, it would seem that she has pretensions to the kindness of this country.”
[1 ]“Our merchants here are becoming very uneasy on the subject of the French captures and seizures. They are certainly very perplexing and alarming, and present an evil of a magnitude to be intolerable, if not shortly remedied. My anxiety to preserve peace with France is known to you; and it must be the wish of every prudent man, that no honorable expedient for avoiding a rupture be omitted. Yet there are bounds to all things. This country cannot see its trade an absolute prey to France, without resistance. We seem to be where we were with Great Britain, when Mr. Jay was sent there; and I cannot discern but that the spirit of the policy, then pursued with regard to England, will be the proper one now in respect to France, namely, a solemn and final appeal to the justice and interest of France, and, if this will not do, measures of self-defence. Any thing is better than absolute humiliation. France has already gone much further than Great Britain ever did. I give vent to my impressions on this subject, though I am persuaded the train of your own reflections cannot materially vary.”—Hamilton to Washington, 19 January, 1797.