Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Frederick N. Hudson, 4 July 1800

From Frederick N. Hudson1

Genl Hamilton,

U. S. Ship Constitution
at sea 4th July 1800

Dr Sir,

I am equally pained at the necessity of my Conduct’s being explained; as I am, fearfull of offending by the many apologies I have made but fear of being thought ungrateful to the Man who has laid me under the most delicate and lasting obligations has been the only stimulus to my taking the liberty of addressing you so frequently As I have during our present Cruise. Apprehensions that you might be pestered by Matthews about the Debt for which you became responsible2 have continually Haunted me. And Notwithstanding the conviction there was upon my mind that he was perfectly satisfied with the Assurances I had given him before I left N.Y. (the particulars of which and my reasons for that conviction I wrote you from Norfolk)3 I should most Certainly have returned immediately from that place had I not really believed as was reported that our Cruise would have been a very short one upon the Coast of America and that in the course of a month or two we should have again been in your part in the United states; Tho’ my return to N. York at that time would have been attended with very Disagreable consequences and Ruined all my prospects in my present profession.

I hope to be in Boston4 nearly as soon as this letter will reach you from whence I shall immediately repair to new York, when I hope to have power of giving a satisfactory explanation, and I felicitate myself with the hope that you will suspend your final opinion of me until I have that opportunity, more from a knowledge of the natural generosity of your Disposition than from any Justification of myself. God knows of what moment this object is to me as a certainty of having intirely lost ⟨your⟩ friendship would imbitter every future Moment of my life. Lieut. Hamilton5 is in perfect health & will I presume write you by this opportunity.

Please to accept the prayers for the future happiness of yourself & family—of your Obliged Humble servant

Fredk. N. Hudson

Lieut. Genl. Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Hudson, one of H’s former law clerks, was a midshipman serving on the U. S. Frigate Constitution. See H to James McHenry, August 19, 1798, note 1; H to Benjamin Stoddert, July 4, 1799, note 2.

2H had lent Hudson money on at least two occasions. An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of January 10, 1797, reads: “Hudson for this sum lent him 50.” A second entry in H’s Cash Book, under the date of May 1, 1798, reads: “Frederick Hudson Dr. to Cash paid amount of his note indorsed by me with expences 101.50” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

3Letter not found.

4The cruise of the Constitution lasted from July 23, 1799, to August 24, 1800, when the frigate arrived at Boston. See Naval Documents, Quasi-War, June, 1800–November, 1800 description begins Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War Between the United States and France: Naval Operations from June 1800 to November 1800 (Washington, 1938). description ends , 282, 283, 284, 285.

5Robert W. Hamilton, H’s cousin. See H to Stoddert, August 8, 1798.

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