Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, [19 January 1796]

To George Washington

[New York, January 19, 1796]


The Bearer of this letter is Doctor Bolman1 whom you have heared of as having made an attempt for the relief of the Marquis la Fayette which very nearly succeeded. The circumstances of this affair, as stated by Doctor Bolman & Mr. Huger, son of B Huger2 of St Carolina deceased, who assisted, do real credit to the prudence management and enterprise of the Doctor and shew that he is a man of sense and energy.3

He appears to have been induced to think that he attempted a service which would strongly recommend him to the favour of this Country; in which idea I have reason to believe that Mr Pinckney4 among others encouraged him—and as a consequence of it he hopes for some civil employment under our Government. His expectations of what he may begin with are not high—it being principally his object to obtain some present provision in a way which may lead him, if he discovers talents to something better. He appears to be a man of education—speaks several languages converses sensibly is of polite manners & I dare say has the materials of future advancement.

I have not left him unapprised of the difficulties in his way, but he concludes to go to Philadelphia to ascertain what is or is not possible, relying at least on a kind reception from you.

He brought me letters from Mr & Mrs Church5 which speak handsomely of him. I believe they had a chief agency in promoting his undertaking

At his request I give him this letter to you.

With respectful & Affecte Attachment   I have the honor to be   Sir   Your very Obed ser

A Hamilton

P.S. The Doctor is a German

The President of The UStates

ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Justus Erich Bollmann, a physician and adventurer, was a native of Hanover.

2Francis Kinloch Huger was an English-educated medical student whose father, Major Benjamin Huger, had been killed at Charleston, South Carolina, in 1779.

3In 1792 the Austrians arrested Lafayette and handed him over to the Prussians. In 1794 the Prussians returned Lafayette to the Austrians, who imprisoned him in the fortress of Olmütz in Moravia. See “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on Writing to the King of Prussia Concerning the Marquis de Lafayette,” January 14, 1794. For the unsuccessful efforts to arrange Lafayette’s escape, see H to William Bradford, June 13, 1795; Bradford to H, July 2, 1795.

4Thomas Pinckney, United States Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain.

5John B. and Angelica Church were in England. In 1795 Angelica Church wrote to her sister Elizabeth Hamilton: “You will receive the letter by Dr. Bollman, a young gentleman of good sense and polite manners, his exertions for the Marquis de La Fayette have been so zealous and active that every good American must honor him for his generous conduct; his friend, Mr. Huger, is also greatly entitled to praise for what he has done. I hope that my Brother will afford them his best assistance in an introduction to General Washington and our distinguished men” (Hamilton, Intimate Life description begins Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1910). description ends , 247–48).

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