Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Walton and Cruger, [19 October 1771]

From Walton and Cruger1

[Jamaica, October 19, 1771. On November 27, 1771, Hamilton wrote to Jacob Walton2 and John H. Cruger:3 “I have now the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your favour dated October the 19th.” Letter not found.]

1Sometime between 1766 and 1768, H began work as a clerk for the trading firm of Beekman and Cruger in Christiansted, St. Croix. The firm, dealing in both imports and exports, handled the items common in the trade of a plantation economy. By 1769, the partnership had apparently been dissolved, and the firm was subsequently managed by young Nicholas Cruger, member of a prominent merchant family of New York. Occasionally, he undertook joint ventures with Cornelius Kortright under the firm name of Kortright and Cruger. On October 15, 1771, Cruger went to New York City, and during his five-month absence much of the firm’s business was carried on by H.

The Cruger business letters, which are in the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, are all letterbook copies and fall into three categories: (1) copies of letters composed by H and in the writing of H; (2) copies of letters written by someone other than H, but in whole or in part in the writing of H; (3) copies of letters not written by H and not in the writing of H. Letters in the first category have been printed in full. Letters in the second category have been calendared. Although those in the third category may conceivably be copies of originals which were in H’s writing, there is no evidence that this is the case. As a consequence, such letters have been neither printed nor calendared.

For information on the Cruger family and business activities, see B. D. Hassell, “The Cruger Family in America” (MS, MS Division, New York Public Library, 1892); E. F. De Lancy, “Original Family Records, Cruger,” New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, VI (April, 1875), 74–80; Henry C. Van Schaack, Henry Cruger, The Colleague of Edmund Burke in the British Parliament (New York, 1859); Harrington, The New York Merchant description begins Virginia Harrington, The New York Merchant on the Eve of the Revolution (New York, 1935). description ends .

2Jacob Walton was a member of a prominent New York merchant family and brother-in-law of Nicholas Cruger. See Stevens, Colonial New York, 170.

3John Harris Cruger was a brother of Nicholas Cruger and factor on the British island of Jamaica. The presence of the Crugers in the West Indies was not unusual, for New York merchants often had agents on the islands. Trade with the French West Indies was carried on through the Dutch and Danish neutral ports, especially St. Eustatius, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and Curaçao.

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