Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 8 May 1778

From John Jay

Albany 8 May 1778

Dear Sir,

An opinion of your Benevolence leads me to address this Letter to you. Accident has introduced me to Monsr Lewis de Celoron,1 we happen to lodge in the same House. His modesty & decent manners made an impression upon me, and induced me to make some inquiries into his History and Character. The Gentlemen of this Place say handsome things of him. He is the son of a Major General who fell last war at Ticonderoga. The family is still in Canada and one of the most respectable in that Country. He was sent to France when five years old and there educated. He came out with some French troops to Martinico, and by their General as well as Mr. Bingham2 was recommended to Congress. They gave him a Brevet for a Captains’ Commission. He served last campaign as a Volunteer, first with General ⟨Fermoy⟩,3 and afterwards with Col Morgan. To me he appears to have been neglected. It seems he did not descend to the adulation lately fashionable & perhaps acceptable in this department. While Effrontery and Arrogance even in our virtuous and enlightened days are giving rank & Importance to men whom Wisdom would have left in obscurity; I am persuaded you will be happy in an opportunity of exploring as well as cherishing modest merit. I think Monsr. de Celoron is not without it & under this impression recommend him to your notice as a Probationor. Tell me in your future Letters whether he deserves the favorable opinion I am inclined to entertain of him.

Your obedient servant

John Jay

JCH Transcripts description begins John C. Hamilton Transcripts. These transcripts are owned by Mr. William H. Swan, Hampton Bays, New York, and have been placed on loan in the Columbia University Libraries. description ends .

1Captain Louis de Celeron, Pulaski’s Legion, was taken prisoner at Charleston, South Carolina, in May, 1780, and resigned from the service in July, 1782.

2William Bingham of Philadelphia, one of the richest men in America, served during most of the Revolution as Continental agent in the West Indies.

3Matthias Alexis Roche de Fermoy, a brigadier general in the Continental Army. He resigned January 31, 1778. This space was left blank in the MS.

Index Entries