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Every Thing Necessary To Procure

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It was not his fault that he was not killed or wounded . . . he did every thing that was necessary to procure one or the other. - the Marquis de Lafayette on John Laurens's heroics at the Battle of Brandywine, 1777

Alexander Hamilton stared at the latest blackmail letter from James Reynolds, wishing for the thousandth time that John Laurens was still alive. Of all the people he couldn't talk to about this mess, John at least would have understood the irresistibility both of rescuing a woman in distress and the temptation of accepting her thanks. John would have been someone he could trust at his back if this mess ever came to light; had he lived, the General could have considered appointing him as Secretary of State. He could have become Secretary of State once it was Alexander's turn to be elected President --

Alexander scowled at the letter, wishing he could set it on fire just by glaring at it. He'd wished for that very power earlier in the day as well, during yet another futile attempt to yank Jefferson's head out of the clouds and into the realm of reality-based policymaking. In his mind's eye, Alexander let himself picture John acting as an interpreter between him and the Virginian; as a Southerner - and one with a wild idealistic streak, at that - John had had far more in common with Jefferson than Alexander ever would. He could have translated Alexander's concerns into a Southernspeak that Jefferson could grasp - and, more important, agree with, and that would have spared him so much of the aggravation that that blockhead of a plantation owner had caused him so far.

If wishes were horses. For the thousandth time since the end of the war, Alexander could not help imagining the way John's body must have fallen from his horse. And since he was alone - the rest of his family already asleep, as he himself should have been - Alexander buried his face in his hands and silently wept.