Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Leverett, 21 September 1799

From William Leverett, 21 September 1799

Major Genl. Alexr. Hamilton

Boston Septr. 21d. 1799—


At the time my Name was given into the Secretarys Office by Harrison G. Otis Esqr. for the purpose of obtaining a Commission, I conceived it unessary to come forward with any futher recomendation, And by a Letter which I recd. soon after from Mr. Otis, induced me to beleive that my Name would rest a long time upon the Secretarys Books before I should receive a Commission, inconsequence of which, tho’t nothing more of the business; And engaged as SCargo of a large Ship to go to Leghorn, On my Arrival in Boston, I found I was Appointed 2d. Leut. of the 14 Regt. of Infantry in the Compy Commanded by Cap Thwing, by the Advice of my friends, I was induced to Accept of the Appointment altho the rank was not agreeable to my expectations; the Knowledge, which I have Obtained in Military Tactics, And my early age in entering into Military Life, And my holding Commissions before & the full recomendation, which I could have come forward with—Such as Genl Lincoln, Genl Knox, Genl. Jackson & many other Military Characters, certainly gives me a superiority of Rank. And many quite young placed over me, since my Appointment gives me a feeling rather disagreeable to a man of any feelings—

I have a Young Family, & from Misfortunes in business have lost my all—And my being pleased with a Military life, and feeling a happiness in the welfare of my Country induced me to accept of my Appointment, hoping on writing you a few lines I should receive your Aid towards futher promotion; If promotion could be rank’d according to Ancêtres—mine would be great, but as merit alone purchases I shall endevour to Obtain it by that alone; If its Necessary at this time to obtain the first Characters to recomend me I can do it, As every Assistance of that Kind has been Offerd me, And they are sorry I did not let them No. I had an inclination for the Army, as they would have come forward And endevour’d to have Obtained me a more deserving Commission; but as I now wear the bage of an Offecer it shall never be disgraced, but by Exertions shall endevour to gain your Assistance; the Liberty I have taken in Addressing these Lines to You, I flatter myself You’l excuse—

Excepting my Warmest Wishes for Your health, I remain with Esteem Your Mo Obd. Servt

Wm Leverett

Lt. 14 Regt. Infantry

If time would permit the honour of a Line I should esteem as a favour of great Worth!

(ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

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