Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to ———, 13 April 1804

To ———1

New York, April 13, 1804.2

Dear Sir,

The post of to day brought me a letter from you,3 and another from Mr. ——.4 I have no doubt but the latter would serve you if he could; but he cannot at this time.

On the whole I would advise you to return to New-York, and accept any respectable employment in your way, ’till an opportunity of something better shall occur. ’Tis by patience and perseverance that we can expect to vanquish difficulties, and better an unpleasant condition.

Arraign not the dispensations of Providence—they must be founded in wisdom and goodness; and when they do not suit us, it must be because there is some fault in ourselves, which deserves chastisement, or because there is a kind intent to correct in us some vice or failing, of which, perhaps, we may not be conscious; or because the general plan requires that we should suffer partial ill.

In this situation it is our duty to cultivate resignation, and even humility, bearing in mind, in the language of the Poet, that it was “Pride which lost the blest abodes.”5

With esteem and regard, &c.

A. Hamilton.

New-York Evening Post, October 30, 1804; copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1This letter is preceded in the New-York Evening Post by the following statement: “In giving publicity to the following letter we perform an office, not less grateful to our own feelings, than honorable to the fame of him, whose loss we can never think of but with the deepest sorrow. It was inclosed to us, from an unknown hand, in a note thus happily expressed: ‘The High and deserved veneration in which the character of the late illustrious Hamilton is held, by every admirer of worth and talents, has induced me to forward for insertion in your paper, the subjoined letter to a young friend. It will add another brilliant, and decisive evidence, to the many already adduced, of the religious sentiments of that great and most excellent man: and cannot, I think, fail of being acceptable to every admirer of his virtues.’”

2In HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , X, 456, this letter is dated “April 12, 1804.”

3Letter not found.

4Letter not found.

5The exact quotation reads:

“In pride, in reas’ning pride, our error lies;

All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies!

Pride is still aiming at the bless’d abodes,

Men would be angels, angels would be gods” (Alexander Pope, Essay on Man. Epistles to a Friend [London: Printed for J. Wilford, 1733–1734], Epistle 1, lines 123–27).

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