Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Alexander McDougall, [1774–1776]

To Alexander McDougall1

[New York, 1774–1776]

Dr. sir

It is with the utmost chagrin I am obliged to inform you, that I am not able to return you all your pamph[l]ets; and what is still worse the most valuable of them is missing. I beg you will not impute it to carelessness; for I assure you upon my honor the true state of the case is this—I put your pamphlets in the case with my other books; and some person about the College2 got into my room through the window, broke open my case, & took out The friendly address,3 Bankrofts treatise,4 Two volumes of natural philosophy and a latin author. I have procured another Friendly address to replace the one lost; and have taken all possible pains to recover Bankroft’s treatise or to get another in its stead; but my endeavors have hertofore been fruitless. Mr. Abram Livingston5 thinks he can get one for me, and has promised, if possible, to do it.

I beg Sir you will not take amiss an accident, which has been unavoidable, for be assured, I have had no small uneasiness on account of it. I am Sir

Your most respectful servant

A Hamilton

Be pleased to let me know the proper title of Bankrofts pamphlet (which I have forgotten) and I will publish it with the offer of a reward to any person that will restore it.

I have delayed the discovery of the true state of the matter hitherto; because I was still in hopes to have regained the pamphlet; and was unwilling, in the mean time to let you know it was missing.

ALS, W. Wright Hawkes Collection of Revolutionary War Documents on deposit at Union College, Schenectady, New York.

1McDougall, a native of the Hebrides, was a New York City merchant. In the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the American Revolution he was among the city’s most prominent and active opponents of British rule. Appointed colonel of the First New York Regiment in 1775, he was made a brigadier general in the Continental Army in 1776 and a major general the following year.

On February 23, 1776, McDougall “… recommended Mr. Alexander Hamilton for captain of a company of artillery …” (Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777 [Albany, 1842], I, 321). See H to McDougall, March 17, 1776 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , I, 181–82).

2H was a student at King’s College. See “Matricula of King’s College,” 1774 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , I, 80).

3Thomas Bradbury Chandler, A friendly address to all reasonable Americans, on the subject of our political confusions: in which the necessary consequence of violently opposing the King’s Troops, and of a general nonimportation are fairly stated (New York, 1774).

This book is attributed to Myles Cooper, president of King’s College, in Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States from the Genesis of Printing in 1639 down to and Including the Year 1820 (Chicago, 1931), 5, 20. Chandler, however, in his correspondence and in his memorial to the royal commission on Loyalist claims, maintained that he was the author. See Clarence Hayden Vance, “Myles Cooper,” Columbia University Quarterly, XXII (1930), 275–76.

4Edward Bancroft, Remarks on the Review of the Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies. In Which The Errors of its Author are exposed, and The Claims of the Colonies vindicated, Upon the Evidence of Historical Facts and authentic Records. To which is subjoined, A Proposal for terminating the present unhappy Dispute with the Colonies; Recovering their Commerce; Reconciliating their Affection; Securing their Rights; and establishing their Dependence on a just and permanent Basis. Humbly submitted to the Consideration of the British Legislature (London: Printed in the year 1769; New-London, in New-England: Reprinted and sold by T. Green, 1771).

5During the American Revolution Abraham Livingston, son of Philip Livingston, had served as naval agent at Boston and later as commercial agent at Charleston, South Carolina. On March 16, 1776, the Committee of the Convention of New York contracted with him to supply the troops “employed for the defence” of New York (Journals of the Provincial Congress of the State of New-York, I, 365). Congress ratified the contract on April 16, 1776, and at his request released him from the contract on May 10, 1776 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937; Reprinted, New York, 1968). description ends , IV, 260, 346). On December 1, 1776, the Secret Committee of Congress appointed Livingston and William Turnbull agents “to repair to the eastern states, for the purpose of purchasing and collecting cloathing for the use of the army” (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (Washington, 1904–1937; Reprinted, New York, 1968). description ends , VII, 220).

Index Entries