Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to ———, [10 September 1779]

To ———1

[West Point, September 10, 1779]

Dr Sir,

I really do not think it would be an adviseable measure to detach a brigade, for though I should not apprehend any material danger here, yet I think without some substantial object, it would hardly be prudent to lessen our force. There are possible events that might at least embarrass us. But my principal objection arises from my considering a compliance rather as a bad precedent; if you yield to the impotunity of one state, you must not only do the same to others in similar circumstances but you encourage that importunity and ultimately multiply your embarrassments. I hope the General’s letter in answer to the Governor pointing out some errors in his information will appease his apprehensions. The General appears much averse to the measure.

I am convinced you have no other motive than those you profess and I can hardly help chiding you for thinking it possible I could suppose what you hint.

I have the honor to be   Very truly and Affecty   Yr obedient ser Sep. 10th.

A Hamilton

I have mentioned General Howe’s matter to the General, by the way. His answer as I expected in the negative.

ALS, The Andre deCoppet Collection, Princeton University Library.

1This letter raises many more questions than it answers. There is no indication to whom it was sent. It is presumably concerned with sending a brigade to the assistance of a state—perhaps New York—but little else can be said with certainty. The letter Washington sent “in answer to the Governor” cannot be found, and there is no extant correspondence concerning “General Howe’s matter,” which is mentioned in the postscript.

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