To survive financially, Henry was forced to find multiple sources of income. He wasn't rich enough to rely
on land for his family's support. One skill that served him most of his life was surveying, a trade
that he practiced at all times of the year. With his family connections in the New York legislature, Henry
could also usually count on a political position to bring in
a little more financial help.
Though you couldn't depend completely on political posts, as Henry
wrote to his son Charles.
Go on, my boy, and prosper. You have
industry and talent and integrity and if heaven blesses you with health and protracted
existence honors and wealth will follow. In due time you will form an item in your state
legislature. To this I have no great objection. But beware of Congress: never consent to go
there, except your fortune becomes tip-top-i-cal. While in active business you can never
afford to spend half your time in Washington.