After his oldest son, Philip, graduated from Columbia and began training as a law clerk in his father’s office, Hamilton laid out a detailed schedule for his study. The schedule accounted for almost of all of Philip’s waking hours, from 6 am to 10 pm. Under Hamilton’s rules, Philip would read Law for seven hours a day, and study other subjects for another three hours a day, with some breaks for eating. and some leisure time for “innocent recreations” on Sundays after church. That is some intense scheduling!
The full text of the rules, apparently from 1800, is reprinted below and available on Founders Online.
Rules for Mr Philip Hamilton from the first of April to the first of October he is to rise not later than Six Oclock—The rest of the year not later than Seven. If Earlier he will deserve commendation. Ten will be his hour of going to bed throughout the year.
From the time he is dressed in the morning till nine o clock (the time for breakfast Excepted) he is to read Law.
At nine he goes to the office & continues there till dinner time—he will be occupied partly in the writing and partly in reading law.
After Dinner he reads law at home till five O clock. From this hour till Seven he disposes of his time as he pleases. From Seven to ten he reads and Studies what ever he pleases.
From twelve on Saturday he is at Liberty to amuse himself.
On Sunday he will attend the morning Church. The rest of the day may be applied to innocent recreations.
He must not Depart from any of these rules without my permission.
Hamilton’s youngest son, William Stephen Hamilton is actually buried in Sacramento, California. As a Californian, I was interested to learn more about this piece of Hamiltonian history within my state.
“William Stephen Hamilton, youngest son of Alexander Hamilton, the distinguished revolutionary statesman, came to California in 1849. Previous to that time he had served as a surveyor of public lands in Illinois, discovered the Hamilton Diggings in southwestern Wisconsin in 1827, engaged in the Black Hawk War, when as a colonel he distinguished himself for efficiency and bravery, and was several times a member of the Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin. On coming to California, Hamilton engaged in mining for about a year, after which he went to Sacramento to trade. He died in that city on October 7, 1850.
William Stephen likely died of cholera, and reportedly told a friend that he would “rather have been hung in the Lead Mines” than “to have lived in this miserable hole.” Not a happy ending to a Gold Rush story, but given the widespread nature and destruction caused by the 1850 cholera epidemic in Sacramento, his was not a unique story.
An unmarked grave in the city cemetery constituted the resting place of William Hamilton until 1879, when friends had the body removed to a more appropriate part of the cemetery and a slab of polished Quincy granite placed over it. In 1889, at the suggestion of John O. Brown, mayor of Sacramento, the remains were again moved, this time to a new plot in the cemetery named in honor of the deceased, Hamilton Square. At this time, the handsome, oddly shaped monument of massive Quincy granite was sent out from Massachusetts by the grand-nephew of the pioneer. One one side it bears a bronze medallion of Alexander Hamilton.”
Marcus Breton of the Sacramento Bee recently published an article entitled “Will anyone write a musical for the Hamilton buried in Sacramento?” which describes William Stephen Hamilton’s life and his connection to Sacramento in more detail.
The Sacramento Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution has tended to William Stephen Hamilton’s gravesince his body was moved to its final resting place, and in 2012, they revitalized the grave site.
On March 14, 1801, Margarita (Peggy) Schuyler Van Rensselaer died at her husband’s mansion in Albany after prolonged suffering from an unknown illness. She was laid to rest in a private family vault on the grounds of the Van Rensselaer Manor House. I’ve written previously about the romance between Peggy and her husband Stephen, who had eloped against her father’s wishes when Peggy was 25 and Stephen was 19.
Hamilton was in the Albany area attending court, and kept an eye on Peggy and reported back to his wife Eliza:
“Your Sister Peggy had a better night last night than for three weeks past and is much easier this morning. Yet her situation is such as only to authorise a glimmering of hope. Adieu my beloved. A thousand tender wishes for you.”
On March 10, 1801, Hamilton’s legal business in Albany was complete, but he wrote to Eliza that Peggy and his father and mother-in-law had asked him to stay in town during her illness:
The Senate has refused on account of the interference with other business to hear any more causes this session; so that were it not for the situation of your Sister Peggy, her request that I would stay a few days longer and the like request of your father and mother, I could now return to you. But how can I resist these motives for continuing a while longer?
Things must change this week but at all events I set out for New York the beginning of the next. I cannot resolve to be longer kept from you and my dear Children.
There has been little alteration either way in Peggys situation for these past four days.
On March 16, 1801, Alexander Hamilton wrote to Eliza, conveying the news that Peggy had passed away and reassuring her that Peggy had been “sensible” and “resigned” as she faced her death.
On Saturday, My Dear Eliza, your sister took leave of her sufferings and friends, I trust, to find repose and happiness in a better country.
Viewing all that she had endured for so long a time, I could not but feel a relief in the termination of the scene. She was sensible to the last and resigned to the important change.
Your father and mother are now calm. All is as well as it can be; except the dreadful ceremonies which custom seems to have imposed as indispensable in this pla⟨ce⟩, and which at every instant open anew the closing wounds of bleeding hearts. Tomorrow the funeral takes place. The day after I hope to set sail for N York.
I long to come to console and comfort you my darling Betsey. Adieu my sweet angel. Remember the duty of Christian Resignation. Ever Yrs
In 1848, the old vault which had housed Peggy’s remains was demolished, and her remains were removed to an underground vault in Lot 1, Section 14 at the Albany Rural Cemetery. Above the vault is a large white marble monument. The east face of the monument bears the inscription “Margaret Schuyler Wife of Stephen Van Rensselaer Died March 14th, 1801.”
Peggy was survived by her husband and her son, Stephen Van Rensselaer IV. Her husband remarried in 1802, a year after her death, to Cornelia Paterson.
I wrote earlier about Hamilton’s advice on finding a husband to his sister-in-law, Margarita (Peggy) Schuyler and wanted to share a little more about Peggy’s daring elopement with her distant relative, 19 year old Stephen Van Rensselaer III in 1783.
According to an account by Maunsell Van Rensselaer, Stephen “was in love with Margaret Schuyler, daughter of the General, and although only nineteen was anxious to get married. To this the father objected, and the young couple settled the matter by getting married without delay.”
In A Place in History: Albany in the Age of Revolution, 1775-1825 Warren Roberts writes:
“Margarita climbed out of her second-floor room in her father’s mansion to elope with her 19 year old husband. She was 25 and six years older than her husband.”
“The general’s temper was none of the mildest, and he was greatest enraged at this defiance of his paternal authority, and vented his wrath upon his secretary, accusing him of having aided the escapade.”
Stephen was a wealthy orphan who had just graduated from Harvard College a year before the couple was wed, but had not yet attained his majority and come into his inheritance. Because of his young age, mutual friends expressed concern that the marriage between Peggy and Stephen would fail. Harrison Gray Otis, a friend of Van Renesselaer’s, wrote to Killian Van Rensselaer :
“Stephen’s precipitate marriage has been to me a source of surprise and indeed of regret. He certainly is too young to enter into a connection of this kind; the period of his life is an important crisis; it is the time to acquire Fame, or at least to prepare for its acquisition. It is the time to engage in a busy life, to arouse the Facultys into action, to awake from a lethargic Inattention, which is generally the consequence of youthful pleasures, and make a figure upon the active Theatre. Instead of this our friend has indulged the momentary impulse of youthful Passions, and has yielded to the dictates of Remorseful Fancy.”
Fortunately for the couple, Otis’ fears were unfounded. Mary Gay Humphreys wrote in her biography of Catherine Schuyler:
“The young couple, handsomely entrenched in wealth and position, were doubtless speedily forgiven, as well they might be. Neither fame nor happiness passed by their married life, which was only too brief. Mrs. Stephen Van Rensselaer, the wife of the Patroon, is still the lively Peggy, the favorite of all the dinner-tables and balls.”
In a letter to Angelica Schuyler Church, Alexander Hamilton described having dinner with Peggy and Stephen in 1794:
“Your sister Margaret is also wonderfully restored. She and Mr. Rensselaer supped with us — She never was in better spirits. The sight of these friends has diminished though not dissipated a sadness which took possession of my heart on my departure from New York. I am more and more the fool of affection and friendship. In a little time I shall not be able to stir from the side of my family & friends.”
Interestingly, Van Rensselaer had played an important role in the elopement of Peggy’s sister, Angelica in 1777. The couple had exchanged vows in Van Rensselaer’s home, and he reportedly helped convince Angelica and Peggy’s father, General Philip Schuyler, to accept the newly married couple. Little did General Schuyler know that six years later, the boy Patroon would be eloping with another one of his daughters!
On January 22, 1800, Hamilton playfully wrote to his sister-in-law about his experience of dining in the presence of her portrait on a visit to his in-laws in Albany:
The pleasure of this was heightened by that of dining in the presence of a lady for whom I have a particular friendship. I was placed directly in front of her and was much occupied with her during the whole Dinner. She did not appear to her usual advantage, and yet she was very interesting. The eloquence of silence is not a common attribute of hers; but on this occasion she employed it par force and it was not considered as a fault. Though I am fond of hearing her speak, her silence was so well placed that I did not attempt to make her break it. You will conjecture that I must have been myself dumb with admiration. Perhaps so, and yet this was not the reason of my forbearing to invite a conversation with her. If you cannot find yourself a solution for this enigma, you must call in the aid of Mr. Church—and if he should fail to give you the needful assistance write to your friend Mr. Trumbull for an explanation.
Trumbull had painted the portrait of Angelica Church, her son Philip Schuyler Church, and a servant during his time in London. Trumbull had a close relationship with Angelica’s husband John Barker Church. In his autobiography, Trumbull recalled that when he was a struggling artist, Church had offered to lend him money at a low interest rate whenever he needed funds without requiring any security to guarantee repayment. Trumbull wrote:
“Instances of patronage like this, to young men studying the fine arts, I presume are uncommon, and deserve to be gratefully remembered. … The kindness of Mr. Church, in advancing me, at times when my prospects were not the most promising, and on my personal security merely, the sums which form the above account, will forever deserve my most sincere acknowledgments; without such aid, my subsequent success would have been checked by pecuniary embarrassments.”
Alexander Hamilton’s third child, Alexander Hamilton, Jr. was born in 1786. Like his father and older brother Philip, Alexander completed a course of study at Columbia College. Hamilton, Jr. was active in politics and had a military career, spending some time in Spain and Portugal before the War of 1812, and serving as aide-de-camp to General Morgan Lewis. After time in Europe and Florida, Hamilton, Jr. returned to New York and practiced as a lawyer in the Court of Chancery.
Interestingly, Hamilton, Jr.’s legal career would place him on a collision course with Aaron Burr.
On July 3, 1833, 77-year old Aaron Burr had married wealthy widow Eliza Jumel. Philip Hone, a successful merchant and the mayor of New York from 1825-1826 wrote in his diary:
Wednesday, July 3. — The celebrated Colonel Burr was married on Monday evening to the equally celebrated Mrs. Jumel, widow of Stephen Jumel. It is benevolent in her to keep the old man in his latter days. One good turn deserves another.
“Upon Stephen Jumel’s death, Eliza was one of the wealthiest widows in New York. However, she sought additional security in terms of her place in society. Her marriage to former vice president Aaron Burr in 1833 bolstered her footing among the New York elite. The marriage was solely out of convenience for both sides. Aaron Burr was 77 when they married, and he was looking for a source of funds to assist him to cover his expenses. Eliza quickly saw his endgame and also learned of his infidelity with a much younger woman. Eliza sued for divorce. In an interesting turn of events, her lawyer was Alexander Hamilton’s son. Perhaps this was delayed karma for Aaron Burr, who had shot and killed Hamilton 30 years prior.”
William Henry Shelton wrote that during the divorce trial, Jumel and Burr were “hurling correspondents at each other, and on the part of Burr, in the unfair proportion of four to one.”
The divorce case based on Burr’s alleged infidelity proceeded privately in the Court of Chancery. Hamilton, Jr. represented Eliza Jumel, and Charles O’Conor represented Burr. On September 14, 1836, coincidentally the day of Burr’s death, the divorce was granted by Judge Philo T. Ruggles.
Angelica Schuyler’s marriage to Englishman John Barker Church jolted Albany society, and angered her father, who had disapproved of the match. Angelica and John, who was traveling under the assumed name of John Carter to avoid trouble after a duel, met and began a secret romance without consulting her father, General Philip Schuyler. They then eloped at the home of the young Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer III (who would later secretly elope with Angelica and Eliza’s sister Peggy!!)
General Schuyler wrote to his friend William Duer (who had provided Church/Carter with a letter of introduction to the General) of his disapproval of the match and his gradual forgiveness of the couple:
“Carter and my eldest daughter ran off and married on the 23rd July. Unacquainted with his family, his connections and situation in life, the match was exceedingly disagreeable to me, and I had signified it to him. But as there is no undoing this gordian knot, I took what I hope you will think the prudent part: I frowned, I made them humble themselves, forgave, and called them home.”
After this awkward family reunion, the couple was welcomed back into the Schuyler home, and Church stopped using his fake identity.
Catherine Schuyler’s biographer, Mary Gay Humphreys stated:
“The mystery concerning Carter proved to be alarming only in the fact that it was a mystery. He had left England on account of a duel, assuming the name of Carter for that of John Barker Church, which he subsequently resumed. At the time he was Commissary for Rochambeau, and was afterwards associated with General Wadsworth in the same department. In this capacity he had the opportunity of amassing a large fortune, and the wayward couple became prominent in the social life of New York, London, and Paris.”
In Historic Houses of New Jersey, Weymer Jay Mills provides some romantic color to the story and writes:
“There was another Revolutionary love-affair in General Schuyler’s family which history has scarcely noted,- overshadowed as it is by that of Hamilton and his Betsey- and that is the elopement of Angelica, his eldest daughter with John Barker Church, a gentleman of fortune masquerading in America under the nom de guerre of Carter. The vivacious and clever Angelica, who far outshone the more retiring Elizabeth, met him at a Philadelphia assembly at the beginning of the war. Possessed of dashing manners and almost godlike beauty, it is small wonder that he attracted the attention of the maiden. From his mother, Elizabeth Barker, celebrated at the court of George III for her loveliness, he inherited the languishing blue eyes and finely-chiseled features which Reynolds and Cosway have immortalized. Although but a few years past his school days, he was already the hero of many adventures and a breaker of hearts. To escape a marriage with a wealthy kinswoman, whose Lowestoft estates joined his own, and the consequences of a duel, he fled from London without baggage or credentials; and it was under this assumed name that he wooed and won the most brilliant daughter of one of New York’s first families. General Schuyler at first did not approve of the marriage, but through the influence of the Patroon Van Rensselaer, who encouraged and sheltered the young couple at his manor, he gradually relented, and finally received them with open arms at the Albany homestead.