Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Marquis de Lafayette, 28 November 1780

From Marquis de Lafayette

Paramus [New Jersey] Novr. 28. 1780

Dear Hamilton,

Here I arrived last night and am going to set out for Philadelphia. Gouvion1 goes strait to New Windsor and by him I write to the General,2 I speak of Hand & Smith whom I recommend and add—

“If however you was to cast your-eye on a Man who I think would suit better than any other in the World Hamilton is, I confess the officer whom I would like best to see in my  3 .” Then I go on with the idea that at equal advantages you deserve from him the preference, that your advantages are the greatest, I speak of a cooperation, of your being in the family, & conclude that on every public & private account I advise him to take you.

I know the general’s friendship and gratitude for you, My Dear Hamilton, both are greater than you perhaps imagine. I am sure he needs only to be told that something will suit you and when he thinks he can do it he certainly will. Before this campaign I was your friend and very intimate friend, agreable to the ideas of the World. Since my second voyage, my sentiment has increased to such a point, the world knows nothing about. To shew both from want and from scorn of expressions I shall only tell you. Adieu   Yrs

La Fayette

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 .

1Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Baptiste Gouvion.

2Lafayette’s letter to Washington, dated November 28, 1780, is printed in Gottschalk, Letters of Lafayette to Washington description begins Louis Gottschalk, ed., The Letters of Lafayette to Washington, 1777–1799 (New York, 1944). description ends , 130–31.

Lafayette wrote to both Washington and H because Colonel Alexander Scammell had asked for permission to resign as adjutant general. Although Lafayette recommended both Brigadier General Edward Hand and Lieutenant Colonel William S. Smith, his first choice for the position was H. Lafayette’s arguments, however, failed to convince Washington, for Hand succeeded Scammell as adjutant general.

3This space was left blank in MS.

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