To James A. Hamilton1
[New York, June, 1804]
My Dear James
I have prepared for you a Thesis on Discretion. You may need it. God bless you.
Your affectionate father.
Hamilton, Reminiscences description begins James A. Hamilton, Reminiscences of James A. Hamilton: or Men and Events, at Home and Abroad, During Three Quarters of a Century (New York, 1869). description ends , 40.
1. In describing this letter and its enclosure, James A. Hamilton wrote: “In 1804 a student in Columbia College being required to deliver a speech at one of the exhibitions, I asked my father to prepare one for me. With his usual kindness he complied, and a few days before the fatal duel handed me a manuscript with a note.…
“The first impression as to the words underscored was, that I might need the Thesis as an exercise. Immediate subsequent events of the most painful character induced the belief that it was intended as an admonition that I wanted that ‘homely virtue,’ discretion, of which the thesis treated. How far I have profited by the admonition this relation of the errors of my life may prove. The reader may perhaps say that in attempting to write these reminiscences I have shown that the admonition was thrown away.” (Reminiscences, 40.)