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HAMILTON, Alexander (1755-1804), First Secretary of the Treasury. Autograph letter signed ("A Hamilton") TO SECRETARY OF WAR JAMES MCHENRY, [New York], 1 June 1798. 1 page, 4to, two ink smears in blank areas. Integral address leaf in Hamilton's hand, stamped "FREE" and with New York postmark.
HAMILTON, Alexander (1755-1804), First Secretary of the Treasury. Autograph letter signed ("A Hamilton") TO SECRETARY OF WAR JAMES MCHENRY, [New York], 1 June 1798. 1 page, 4to, two ink smears in blank areas. Integral address leaf in Hamilton's hand, stamped "FREE" and with New York postmark.

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HAMILTON, Alexander (1755-1804), First Secretary of the Treasury. Autograph letter signed ("A Hamilton") TO SECRETARY OF WAR JAMES MCHENRY, [New York], 1 June 1798. 1 page, 4to, two ink smears in blank areas. Integral address leaf in Hamilton's hand, stamped "FREE" and with New York postmark.

HAMILTON ASKS THAT A "RATHER DEMOCRATIC" CANDIDATE BE "FAIRLY CONSIDERED," ON MERIT ALONE, "THAT HE MIGHT HAVE SUCH CHANCE AS HE MERITS"

Three years after his resignation as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton queries his former fellow cabinet member concerning the War Department's plans to protect the city and harbor of New York in the event of war with France. Relations with France had deteriorated rapidly in recent years, and on July 7, a month after this letter, Congress rescinded treaties with France, launching the so-called Quasi-War. Hamilton writes, "Our citizens are extremely anxious that some further measure for their defence should take place. Do me the favor to inform me confidentially which means are actually in the disposition of your department for this purpose [and] when & how they will be applied" At the bottom Hamilton urges a quick response: "The sooner I hear from you the better." In a lengthy postscript, Hamilton asks about employment for one Captain Hacker, "formerly of our Navy." He has been recommended by "one or two good men," but "It seems however that he has been heretofore rather Democratic,"--i.e., an anti-Federalist with Jeffersonian leanings. In spite of this negative factor, Hamilton the staunch Federalist asks that his appointment be made on merit alone: "I barely wish that his pretensions may be fairly but carefully considered & that he may have such chance as he merits...."

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