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From Alexander Hamilton to Edward Stevens, 11 November 1769

To Edward Stevens1

St Croix Novemr. 11th 1769

Dear Edward

This just serves to acknowledge receipt of yours2 per Cap Lowndes3 which was delivered me Yesterday. The truth of Cap Lightbourn4 & Lowndes information is now verifyd by the Presence of your Father and Sister for whose safe arrival I Pray, and that they may convey that Satisfaction to your Soul that must naturally flow from the sight of Absent Friends in health, and shall for news this way refer you to them. As to what you say respecting your having soon the happiness of seeing us all, I wish, for an accomplishment of your hopes provided they are Concomitant with your welfare, otherwise not, tho doubt whether I shall be Present or not for to confess my weakness, Ned, my Ambition is prevalent that I contemn the grov’ling and condition of a Clerk or the like, to which my Fortune &c. condemns me and would willingly risk my life tho’ not my Character to exalt my Station. Im confident, Ned that my Youth excludes me from any hopes of immediate Preferment nor do I desire it, but I mean to prepare the way for futurity. Im no Philosopher you see and may be jusly said to Build Castles in the Air. My Folly makes me ashamd and beg youll Conceal it, yet Neddy we have seen such Schemes successfull when the Projector is Constant I shall Conclude saying I wish there was a War.

I am   Dr Edward   Yours

Alex Hamilton

PS   I this moment receivd yours5 by William Smith6 and am pleasd to see you Give such Close Application to Study.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Edward Stevens, H’s boyhood friend and schoolmate, was the son of Thomas Stevens, St. Croix merchant, into whose home H may have been taken after his mother’s death in 1768. H addressed this letter to Stevens in New York City. Stevens was a student at King’s College, New York City, from 1770–1774.

2Letter not found.

3William Lowndes, a New York ship captain. An advertisement in The Royal Danish American Gazette, October 31, 1772, reads “For New-York, The Sloop Hester, William Lowndes Master; will sail in 10 days.”

4William Lightbourn (Lightborn, or Lightbourne), New York ship captain, who also maintained a store in St. Croix. See Mitchell, Hamilton description begins Broadus Mitchell, Alexander Hamilton, Youth to Maturity, 1755–1788 (New York, 1957). description ends , I, 484, and The Royal Danish American Gazette, September 29, 1770.

5Letter not found.

6Ship captain, employed by New York and British merchants in the Atlantic trade. See White, Beekman Papers description begins Philip L. White, ed., The Beekman Mercantile Papers (New York, 1956). description ends , II, 727, 763, 764, 811, 845.

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