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    Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette Autograph Letter Signed to Alexander Hamilton. One page, 8.5" x 6.25", Light Camp, [New Jersey]; October 30, 1780. A letter to Alexander Hamilton concerning provisions for a Lieutenant Pepin, a Canadian officer.

    Dear Hamilton

    There is a Canadian officer who tho by his manners and adorn he does not engage much in his favor, has however an undoubted right to our notice-what he asks as to his subsistence is I think just, and if America can't without ingratitude refuse subsistence to those Canadians she has persuaded out of their native country, how much more is it necessary to [utilize?] those who are or have been in her service. I wish therefore that an order for a [?] and an order for provisions when at Albany be given to lieutenant pepin unless he is again to join some regiment



    I send you all his papers

    In 1776 Alexander Hamilton had been commissioned a captain in the Continental Army and given command of an artillery company of nearly 100 men. Hamilton's company participated in many skirmishes in New York in the autumn of 1776, and served as part of the attacking force at the Battle of Princeton in January of 1777. In light of his valor and organization skills, Hamilton was invited to be one of Commander in Chief General George Washington's aides. Hamilton accepted the offer and remained on Washington's staff for four years, until 1781. He was on Washington's staff when Lafayette wrote this letter.

    Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was a French aristocrat and military officer who served in the American Revolutionary War. He was a close personal friend of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton. An ardent supporter of the American cause, he joined the Continental Army at age nineteen and was appointed major general, though with no troops to command. In 1780 he was given a senior position in the army. Wounded during the Battle of Brandywine, Lafayette still managed to organize an orderly retreat. He also served with distinction in the Battle of Rhode Island. Soon after this engagement he returned to France to lobby for an increase in support of the American cause from his country's government. Upon his return to America, Lafayette was given senior positions in the Continental Army. In 1781 troops in Virginia under his command blocked forces led by British General Cornwallis until other American and French forces could position themselves for the decisive Siege of Yorktown. Being a Frenchman, Lafayette was very much interested in encouraging French Canadians who wished to support the American cause.

    The Lieutenant Pepin referred to by Lafayette may be Andrew Pepin who served in the 1st Canadian Regiment, which was raised by James Livingston (1747-1832) to support Colonial efforts in the American Revolutionary War during the invasion of Quebec. Livingston recruited men from Quebec as early as September 1775, but the regiment was not formally designated until November 1775, followed by recognition by the Second Continental Congress in January 1776. The regiment saw action primarily in the Canadian theater and New York, and was disbanded on January 1, 1781.

    We could find only one other auction record for a letter by Lafayette to Hamilton which sold for $11,500 in 1993. That letter was also war-dated, and concerned a recommendation for an officer. All other Lafayette war-dated letters to Hamilton are in institutions.

    Condition: The letter is affixed to its mat along the bottom margin. There is a filing docket on verso that reads "30 Oct 1780 / delafayette / COPIED", written in an unknown hand.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,632

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