Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Oliver Wolcott, Junior, 20 September 1795

To Oliver Wolcott, Junior

[New York] Sepr. 20. 1795

My Dear Sir

A slight indisposition prevented my meeting you at E Town1 which I should otherwise have done with great pleasure.

It is wished for a particular purpose to know who are the Writers of Valerius Hancock Bellisarius Atticus.2 If any thing about them is known in a manner that can be depended upon I will thank you for it in confidence.

The fever in this Town has become serious.3 The alarm however exceeds the quantum of disease & danger. It is not ascertained that the fever is contagious. It is clearly traced to local causes—but it is sufficiently mortal. Bleeding is found fatal. Most of our physicians purge more or less some with Calomel—I fear more than does good Bark Wine &c plentifully used and with good effect. They however all behave well and shrink not from their duty.

Adieu   Yrs.

A Hamilton

Shew the last paragraph of this letter to Doctor Stevens4 from whom though I have written to him5 I have not received a line since I came to NYork.6

ALS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.

1Wolcott had left Philadelphia on September 18, 1795, to meet his wife in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He returned to Philadelphia on September 22 (Timothy Pickering to George Washington, September 23, 1795 [ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives]).

2These articles, which opposed the Jay Treaty, were printed in Benjamin Franklin Bache’s [Philadelphia] Aurora. General Advertiser. “Valerius” wrote eleven articles from August 22 to December 1; five articles by “Hancock” appeared in August and September; five articles by “Belisarius” appeared in September and October; and “Atticus” wrote at least nine articles for the [Philadelphia] Independent Gazeteer between July and October, of which seven were reprinted in the Aurora.

3There was a yellow fever epidemic in New York City from mid-July until the onset of cold weather in November, 1795.

4Edward Stevens was H’s boyhood friend and a physician in Philadelphia. Stevens had been H’s doctor when H had contracted yellow fever in 1793. See George Washington to H, September 6, 1793; H to the College of Physicians, September 11, 1793.

5Letter not found.

6Wolcott endorsed this letter: “ansd. 25.” Actually Wolcott’s reply is dated September 26, 1795.

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