More Hamilton Broadway Lines and Their Historical Sources

Below is a continuation of my previous post about Hamilton Broadway lines in the context of the primary sources that inspired them.

Image from Forbes

“Laurens, I like you a lot.” (Hamilton, “My Shot”)

Cold in my professions, warm in ⟨my⟩ friendships, I wish, my Dear Laurens, it m⟨ight⟩ be in my power, by action rather than words, ⟨to⟩ convince you that I love you. I shall only tell you that ’till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you. Indeed, my friend, it was not well done. You know the opinion I entertain of mankind, and how much it is my desire to preserve myself free from particular attachments, and to keep my happiness independent on the caprice of others. You sh⟨ould⟩ not have taken advantage of my sensibility to ste⟨al⟩ into my affections without my consent. But as you have done it and as we are generally indulgent to those we love, I shall not scruple to pardon the fraud you have committed, on condition that for my sake, if not for your own, you will always continue to merit the partiality, which you have so artfully instilled into ⟨me⟩. – Hamilton writing to John Laurens in April 1779.

“Will you relish being a poor man’s wife?  Unable to provide for your life?” (Hamilton to Eliza, “That Would Be Enough”)

“But now we are talking of times to come, tell me my pretty damsel have you made up your mind upon the subject of housekeeping? Do you soberly relish the pleasure of being a poor mans wife? Have you learned to think a home spun preferable to a brocade and the rumbling of a waggon wheel to the musical rattling of a coach and six? Will you be able to see with perfect composure your old acquaintances flaunting it in gay life, tripping it along in elegance and splendor, while you hold an humble station and have no other enjoyments than the sober comforts of a good wife? Can you in short be an Aquileia and chearfully plant turnips with me, if fortune should so order it? If you cannot my Dear we are playing a comedy of all in the wrong, and you should correct the mistake before we begin to act the tragedy of the unhappy couple.” – Hamilton writing to Elizabeth Schuyler in August 1780.

“Hamilton’s a host unto himself. As long as he can hold a pen, he’s a threat.” (Jefferson to Madison, “Adams Administration”)

“Hamilton is really a colossus to the anti-Republican party.  Without numbers, he is a host within himself.” – Jefferson writing to Madison on September 21, 1795.

“Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none.” (Hamilton, “Election of 1800”)

“There is no doubt but that upon every virtuous and prudent calculation Jefferson is to be preferred. He is by far not so dangerous a man and he has pretensions to character.

As to Burr there is nothing in his favour. His private character is not defended by his most partial friends. He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country.” – Hamilton writing to Oliver Wolcott, Jr. on December 16, 1800.  For more of Hamilton’s thoughts on Jefferson v. Burr, see my post here.

Hamil-Swag: Shotglasses

Fishs Eddy offers this dueling gift box of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton shot glasses on their website for $12.  I received these as a Christmas present this year, and love them! They are very sturdy and well made (but be warned, they pour pretty large shots).

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Cafe Press offers this Fight Club Hamilton shot glass, combining A. Ham + one of my favorite movies, for $13.99.

Fight Club - Alexander Hamilton Shot Glass

Cafe Press also offers this I Love Federalists shot glass for $13.99.

I love Federalists Shot Glass

And if you’re looking for something to put into these shot glasses, food writer Casey Barber has an exciting recipe for an Alexander Hamilton cocktail she named “My Shot” on Good Food Stories.  She writes:

As the Hamilton musical grows into more of a phenomenon, I feel compelled to celebrate its genius. I don’t have an acre of land, a troop to command, or a dollop of fame, but I can make a damn good cocktail. So here’s my way of adding my voice to the narrative: a boozy homage to the checkered, complex life of Alexander Hamilton, using spirits—rum, whiskey, cider, pimento dram, and applejack—that were popular during Hamilton’s lifetime.

Jefferson or Burr? Hamilton’s Letters in the Election of 1800

I’ve written before about Hamilton’s pivotal role in the the Election of 1800. Below are some excerpts from Hamilton’s letters in December 1800 on the presidential contest between Jefferson and Burr.

On December 23, 1800, Hamilton wrote to Harrison Gray Otis, a prominent Boston Federalist expressing his fears about Burr’s character and boundless ambition:

Burr loves nothing but himself; thinks of nothing but his own aggrandizement, and will be content with nothing, short of permanent power in his own hands. No compact that he should make with any passion in his breast, except ambition, could be relied upon by himself. How then should we be able to rely upon any agreement with him. Jefferson, I suspect, will not dare much. Burr will dare every thing, in the sanguine hope of effecting every thing.

A digitized image of Hamilton’s original letter to Gray is available via the Gilder Lehrman Collection.

Alexander Hamilton to Harrison Gray Otis, December 23, 1800. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)
Image from the Gilder Lehrman Collection

In December 1800, Hamilton wrote to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., President Adams’ Secretary of Treasury (who would resign from the position days later) with the purpose of dissuading him from favoring Burr’s candidacy.  Wolcott, Jr. and other Federalists were so opposed to Jefferson’s policies that many saw Burr as a more palatable alternative.  Hamilton fiercely resisted this position:

There is no circumstance which has occurred in the course of our political affairs that has given me so much pain as the idea that Mr. Burr might be elevated to the Presidency by the means of the Fderalists. I am of opinion that this party has hitherto solid claims of merit with the public and so long as it does nothing to forfeit its title to confidence I shall continue to hope that our misfortunes are temporary and that the party will ere long emerge from its depression. But if it shall act a foolish or unworthy part in any capital instance, I shall then despair.

Such without doubt will be the part it will act, if it shall seriously attempt to support Mr. Burr in opposition to Mr. Jefferson. If it fails, as after all is not improbable, it will have rivetted the animosity of that person, will have destroyed or weakened the motives to moderation which he must at present feel and it will expose them to the disgrace of a defeat in an attempt to elevate to the first place in the Government one of the worst men in the community. If it succeeds, it will have done nothing more nor less than place in that station a man who will possess the boldness and daring necessary to give success to the Jacobin system instead of one who for want of that quality will be less fitted to promote it.

Let it not be imagined that Mr. Burr can be won to the Federal Views. It is a vain hope. Stronger ties, and stronger inducements than they can offer, will impel him in a different direction. His ambition will not be content with those objects which virtuous men of either party will allot to it, and his situation and his habits will oblige him to have recourse to corrupt expedients, from which he will be restrained by no moral scruples. To accomplish his ends he must lean upon unprincipled men and will continue to adhere to the myrmidons who have hitherto seconded him. To these he will no doubt add able rogues of the Federal party; but he will employ the rogues of all parties to overrule the good men of all parties and to prosecute projects which wise men of every description will disapprove.

These things are to be inferred with moral certainty from the character of the man. Every step in his career proves that he has formed himself upon the model of Catiline, and he is too coldblo[o]ded and too determined a conspirator ever to change his plan.

On December 16, 1800, Hamilton wrote to Wolcott again:

“There is no doubt but that upon every virtuous and prudent calculation Jefferson is to be preferred. He is by far not so dangerous a man and he has pretensions to character.

As to Burr there is nothing in his favour. His private character is not defended by his most partial friends. He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country. His public principles have no other spring or aim than his own aggrandisement per fas et nefas. If he can, he will certainly disturb our institutions to secure to himself permanent power and with it wealth. He is truly the Cataline of America—& if I may credit Major Wilcocks,he has held very vindictive language respecting his opponents.”

In both letters to Wolcott, Hamilton describes Burr as the Catiline of America, referring to a Roman Senator of the 1st Century BC who attempted to overthrow the Senate and the Roman Republic, but was stopped by Cicero and then exiled.

On December 24, 1800, Hamilton wrote to Gouverneur Morris:

Another subject—Jefferson or Burr?—the former without all doubt. The latter in my judgment has no principle public or private—could be bound by no agreement—will listen to no monitor but his ambition; & for this purpose will use the worst part of the community as a ladder to climb to perman[en]t power & an instrument to crush the better part. He is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the resources that grow out of war and disorder or by a sale to a foreign power or by great peculation. War with Great Brita[i]n would be the immediate instrument. He is sanguine enough to hope every thing—daring enough to attempt every thing—wicked enough to scruple nothing. From the elevation of such a man heaven preserve the Country!

He followed this up with a second letter to Morris two days later on December 26, 1800, stating:

“That on the same ground Jefferson ought to be preferred to Burr.

I trust the Federalists will not finally be so mad as to vote for the latter. I speak with an intimate & accurate knowlege of character. His elevation can only promote the purposes of the desperate and proflicate. ⟨If t⟩here be ⟨a man⟩ in the world I ought to hate it is Jefferson. With Burr I have always been personally well. But the public good must be paramount to every private consideration. My opinion may be freely used with such reserves as you shall think discreet.”

Images of Hamilton: the Statue at the Treasury Building

On May 17, 1923, the Treasury Department officially unveiled the statue of Alexander Hamilton in the South Plaza of the Treasury Building.

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Image from US Archives

The Program of Exercises Attending the Unveiling of the Statute of Alexander Hamilton, available from US Archives includes the following statement on Hamilton’s life and legacy:

ALEXANDER HAMILTON was born in the island of Nevis, West Indies, on January 1 1, 1757, and died in New York July 12, 1804. At the age of 12 years it was necessary for him to earn his own living as clerk in a counting house at Saint Croix, but his genius being soon recognized funds were raised by his friends to enable him to come to America to finish his education. He arrived here in 1772 and in 1774 entered college where he made a brilliant record as a student. In March, 1776, he secured a commission in the Continental Army and participated in important battles of the Revolution, displaying skill and courage. He also served as aid-de- camp on the staff of Washington. At the close of the war he was but 24 years of age, but was even then considered one of the great men of the day. He was elected to the Continental Congress from New York October 1, 1782, but resigned in 1783 and returned to the practice of law. He took an active part in the preparation of the Constitution of which he was a signer. When Congress in 1789 established a Treasury Department, Washington at once made Hamilton its first Secretary, where his great ability was devoted to organizing the Department and inaugurating a successful national financial policy. The Encyclopedia Americana in its biography of this great public character says “American history presents no more striking character than Alexander Hamilton. He was not popular, nor did he strive after popularity, but after 100 years his name still holds a noble eminence. He lived for the public good. Eloquent and refined, able and brilliant, the embodiment of devotion, integrity and courage, he has left as deep a mark upon our political institutions as any other statesman our country has produced.”

Funds for the statue were raised by the Alexander Hamilton Association, which was established in February 1908 “for the purpose of raising, by public or private subscription, the money necessary to erect a suitable memorial in the form of a monument or statue to perpetuate the memory and commemorate the public achievements of Alexander Hamilton.”  The president of the association was Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in the Plessy v. Ferguson case who famously wrote:

“Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved.”

After Justice Harlan’s  death, the presidency was taken over by Justice Josiah A. Van Orsdel, who presided over the final unveiling of the statue.  Congress appropriated $10,000 for the statute, and the other funds were furnished by the Alexander Hamilton Association and private donors.

The statue is inscribed on three sides.  The front inscription reads:

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

1757 — 1804

FIRST SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

SOLDIER, ORATOR, STATESMAN
CHAMPION OF CONSTITUTIONAL UNION,
REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT AND
NATIONAL INTEGRITY

The back inscription reads:

“He smote the rock of the national resources and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of the public credit and it sprang upon its feet.”

Image from the Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog

Hamil-Swag: Odds & Ends

Here is some random Hamil-Swag I’ve come across in the past few weeks.

A. Hamster: this sticker from Red Bubble features an adorable Hamiltonian hamster.  Small stickers are $2.40 and medium stickers are $6.00.

Alexander Hamilton - Hamster by imaginedworlds
Image from Red Bubble

Wrapping Paper: It’s too late for this holiday season, but there are apparently a few varieties of Hamilton wrapping paper:

  • Founding Father Joy offers a nifty green and red Hamilton wrapping paper for $15.80 per roll on Zazzle.
  • Fine Art Museum Gifts offers this wrapping paper featuring a John Trumbull portrait of Hamilton for $23.95, also on Zazzle.
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Picture from Zazzle

Capitalism Rocks Hamilton mug: from Cafe Press, this mug is $9.95.

HamiltonRocks Mugs
Image from Cafe Press

Translucent Pint Glass:  Designed by Stephen Harmon and available from Cafe Press, this pint glass is $12.95

Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton Drinking Glas
Image from Cafe Press

 

Palaces Out of Paragraphs: Hamilton’s Love Letters

By March of 1780, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler were engaged.  The wedding date was set for December of that year, and as Hamilton continued his duties as General Washington’s aide-de-campe, he wrote her several letters expressing his sentiments.  Although most of Elizabeth’s friends affectionately called her Eliza, Hamilton referred to her as his Betsey.  The letters excerpted below are from the period July 1780 to October 1781, and are all available via the National Archives’ Founders Online.

Image from: Alexander Hamilton Exhibit

July 2-4, 1780

I love you more and more every hour. The sweet softness and delicacy of your mind and manners, the elevation of your sentiments, the real goodness of your heart, its tenderness to me, the beauties of your face and person, your unpretending good sense and that innocent simplicity and frankness which pervade your actions; all these appear to me with increasing amiableness and place you in my estimation above all the rest of your sex.

July 31, 1780– Because Eliza’s letters have never been found, we don’t know what the back and forth exchange was between the two, but it appears that Hamilton was reassuring Eliza about his feelings for her.

Since my last I have received three letters from you,the sweetest ever dictated by a fond heart. Banish your uneasiness my love; I discard for ever, every idea injurious to your tenderness which every thing convinces me is without an equal but in mine. I have no time to indulge my heart by dwelling on those assurances which it delights to be ever giving you of its admiration, of its esteem of its love. My life shall be a continued proof of the unbounded affection of your

In August of 1780, a few months before they were to be married, Hamilton playfully questioned whether Eliza would be able to handle the challenges of her new uncertain financial situation after the two were married.  He asks her to think seriously about whether she can adjust to a lifestyle of financial uncertainty and be satisfied with it even when she sees her friends and acquaintances living far grander lifestyles:

But now we are talking of times to come, tell me my pretty damsel have you made up your mind upon the subject of housekeeping? Do you soberly relish the pleasure of being a poor mans wife? Have you learned to think a home spun preferable to a brocade and the rumbling of a waggon wheel to the musical rattling of a coach and six? Will you be able to see with perfect composure your old acquaintances flaunting it in gay life, tripping it along in elegance and splendor, while you hold an humble station and have no other enjoyments than the sober comforts of a good wife? Can you in short be an Aquileia and chearfully plant turnips with me, if fortune should so order it? If you cannot my Dear we are playing a comedy of all in the wrong, and you should correct the mistake before we begin to act the tragedy of the unhappy couple.

I propose you a set of new questions my lovely girl; but though they are asked with an air of levity, they merit a very serious consideration, for on their being resolved in the affirmative stripped of all the colorings of a fond imagination our happiness may absolutely depend. I have not concealed my circumstances from my Betsey; they are far from splendid; they may possibly even be worse than I expect, for every day brings me fresh proof of the knavery of those to whom my little affairs are entrusted. They have already filed down what was in their hands more than one half, and I am told they go on diminishing it, ’till I fear they will reduce it below my former fears. An indifference to property enters into my character too much, and what affects me now as my Betsey is concerned in it, I should have laughed at or not thought of at all a year ago. But I have thoroughly examined my own heart. Beloved by you, I can be happy in any situation, and can struggle with every embarrassment of fortune with patience and firmness. I cannot however forbear entreating you to realize our union on the dark side and satisfy, without deceiving yourself, how far your affection for me can make you happy in a privation of those elegancies to which you have been accustomed. If fortune should smile upon us, it will do us no harm to have been prepared for adversity; if she frowns upon us, by being prepared, we shall encounter it without the chagrin of disappointment. Your future rank in life is a perfect lottery; you may move in an exalted you may move in a very humble sphere; the last is most probable; examine well your heart. And in doing it, dont figure to yourself a cottage in romance, with the spontaneous bounties of nature courting you to enjoyment. Dont imagine yourself a shepherdess, your hair embroidered with flowers a crook in your hand tending your flock under a shady tree, by the side of a cool fountain, your faithful shepherd sitting near and entertaining you with gentle tales of love. These are pretty dreams and very apt to enter into the heads of lovers when they think of a connection without the advantages of fortune. But they must not be indulged. You must apply your situation to real life, and think how you should feel in scenes of which you may find examples every day. So far My Dear Betsey as the tenderest affection can compensate for other inconveniences in making your estimate, you cannot give too large a credit for this article. My heart overflows with every thing for you, that admiration, esteem and love can inspire. I would this moment give the world to be near you only to kiss your sweet hand. Believe what I say to be truth and imagine what are my feelings when I say it. Let it awake your sympathy and let our hearts melt in a prayer to be soon united, never more to be separated.

On December 14, 1780, Alexander and Eliza were married at the Schuyler Mansion in Albany.  Shortly afterwards, Hamilton returned to his post and wrote letters about the pain of being separated from his new wife.

July 10, 1 781

I impatiently long to hear from you the state of your mind since our painful separation. Be as happy as you can, I entreat you, my amiable, my beloved wife. But let not absence deprive me of the least particle of your affection. Always remember those tender proofs I have so frequently given you of mine and preserve for me unabated the only blessing which can make life of any value to me.

September 6, 1781

Constantly uppermost in my thoughts and affections, I am happy only when my moments are devoted to some office that respects you. I would give the world to be able to tell you all I feel and all I wish, but consult your own heart and you will know mine. What a world will soon be between us!

October 12, 1781– Hamilton chastised Eliza for not writing him enough letters, but then expressed how his annoyance melted away when he thought of the impending birth of his child.

You complain of me my love, for not writing to you more frequently, but have I not greater reason to complain of you? Since I left Kings ferry, I have received three letters from you, that is three in seven weeks. You have no occupations to prevent your writing; I am constantly employed. Yet I am sure I have written to you during that period more than twenty letters. Don’t imagine that this neglect will go unpunished. I hope to see you in three or four weeks from this time, and you may then expect to be called to a severe account. I know you rely upon your power over me. You expect that your usual blandishments will have the usual charm. You think you have only to smile and caress and you will disarm my resentment; but you are mistaken. The crime is of too serious nature to be forgiven; except with one atonement which I am sure it will not be easy for you to make. This is to love me better than ever. If upon deliberate examination you should find this impossible, I may compound for one substitute. You shall engage shortly to present me with a boy. You will ask me if a girl will not answer the purpose. By no means. I fear, with all the mothers charms, she may inherit the caprices of her father and then she will enslave, tantalize and plague one half ⟨the⟩ sex, out of pure regard to which I protest against a daughter. So far from extenuating your offence this would be an aggravation of it.The idea of a smiling infant in my Betseys arms calls up all the father in it. In imagination I embrace the mother and embrace the child a thousand times. I can scarce refrain from shedding tears of joy. But I must not indulge these sensations; they are unfit for the boisterous scenes of war and whenever they intrude themselves make me but half a soldier.

Happy Birthday, Hamilton!

Happy birthday to the founding father without a father!  On January 11, 1757, Alexander Hamilton was born in uncertain circumstances on the island of Nevis in the West Indies.  However, by sheer brilliance, luck, and a relentless drive and ambition, Hamilton became (among many other accomplishments) an influential Revolutionary thinker, invaluable aide-de-camp to General Washington, creator of the Federalist Paper, Secretary of Treasury, and a celebrated lawyer

When Hamilton was 12, he wrote to his friend Edward Stevens who was studying in King’s College and described the extent to which his ambition made him unable to accept the circumstances of his birth as something that could limit him to a menial position for the rest of his life:

“my Ambition is prevalent that I contemn the grov’ling and condition of a Clerk or the like, to which my Fortune &c. condemns me and would willingly risk my life tho’ not my Character to exalt my Station. Im confident, Ned that my Youth excludes me from any hopes of immediate Preferment nor do I desire it, but I mean to prepare the way for futurity. Im no Philosopher you see and may be jusly said to Build Castles in the Air. My Folly makes me ashamd and beg youll Conceal it, yet Neddy we have seen such Schemes successfull when the Projector is Constant I shall Conclude saying I wish there was a War.”

In describing Hamilton’s ambition to John Adams in September of 1798, George Washington stated:

“By some he is considered as an ambitious man, and therefore a dangerous one.—That he is ambitious I shall readily grant, but it is of that laudable kind which prompts a man to excel in whatever he takes in hand.—He is enterprising,—quick in his perceptions,—and his judgment intuitively great:—qualities essential to a great military character, and therefore I repeat, that his loss will be irreparable.”

Image from Mental Floss

Gouverneur Morris’s Eulogy of Alexander Hamilton

After Hamilton’s death on July 12, 1804, his long-time friend Gouverneur Morris delivered a funeral oration on July 14, 1804, addressed to the people of New York, on a temporary stage erected in the portico of Trinity Church.  Morris was accompanied by four of Hamilton’s surviving sons, ranging in age from 6 to 16.  The New York Post published the text of Morris’s remarks (full text available here via Founders Online), which are excerpted below.  Morris’s oration highlighted Hamilton’s multi-faceted contributions and impact on several different sectors of New York society:

Far from attempting to excite your emotions, I must try to repress my own, and yet I fear that instead of the language of a public speaker, you will hear only the lamentations of a bewailing friend. But I will struggle with my bursting heart, to pourtray that Heroic Spirit, which has flown to the mansions of bliss.

At the time when our government was organised, we were without funds, though not without resources. To call them into action, and establish order in the finances, Washington sought for splendid talents, for extensive information, and, above all, he sought for sterling, incorruptible integrity—All these he found in Hamilton. The system then adopted has been the subject of much animadversion. If it be not without a fault, let it be remembered that nothing human is perfect. Recollect the circumstances of the moment—recollect the conflict of opinion—and above all, remember that the minister of a republic must bend to the will of the people. The administration which Washington formed, was one of the most efficient, one of the best that any country was ever blest with. And the result was a rapid advance in power and prosperity, of which there is no example in any other age or nation. The part which Hamilton bore is universally known.

Brethren of the Cincinnati—There lies our chief! Let him still be our model. Like him, after a long and faithful public service, let us cheerfully perform the social duties of private life. Oh! he was mild and gentle. In him there was no offence; no guile. His generous hand and heart were open to all.

Gentlemen of the Bar—You have lost your brightest ornament. Cherish and imitate his example. While, like him, with justifiable, with laudable zeal, you pursue the interests of your clients, remember, like him, the eternal principles of justice.

Fellow Citizens—You have long witnessed his professional conduct, and felt his unrivalled eloquence. You know how well he performed the duties of a Citizen—you know that he never courted your favour by adulation, or the sacrifice of his own judgment. You have seen him contending against you, and saving your dearest interests, as it were, in spite of yourselves. And you now feel and enjoy the benefits resulting from the firm energy of his conduct. Bear this testimony to the memory of my departed friend. I charge you to protect his fame—It is all he has left—all that these poor orphan children will inherit from their father. But, my countrymen, that Fame may be a rich treasure to you also. Let it be the test by which to examine those who solicit your favour. Disregarding professions, view their conduct and on a doubtful occasion, ask, Would Hamilton have done this thing?

Duelversary: Hamilton after the Duel

On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr began their fatal duel in Weehawken.  After Hamilton was mortally wounded, he was taken by boat back to New York City, where he passed away the following day.  In a letter to William Coleman (Hamilton’s friend and the editor of the New York Post), Dr. David Hosack, Hamilton’s attending physician, described Hamilton’s moments after the duel.  Dr. Hosack’s full account is available from Founders Online.

Dr. Hosack first described calling out to Hamilton and finding him after he had been shot.  Dr. Hosack determined that the only chance that Hamilton had to survive would be to get onto a boat and go to New York City immediately for treatment.

When called to him, upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant just strength to say, “This is a mortal wound, Doctor;” when he sunk away, and became to all appearance lifeless. I immediately stripped up his clothes, and soon, alas! ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been through some vital part.* His pulses were not to be felt; his respiration was entirely suspended; and upon laying my hand on his heart, and perceiving no motion there, I considered him as irrecoverably gone. I however observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and carried him out of the wood, to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately put off.

As the party approached the shore, Hamilton gave Dr. Hosack instructions as to how to break the news to his wife, Eliza.

Perceiving that we approached the shore, he said, “Let Mrs. Hamilton be immediately sent for—let the event be gradually broken to her; but give her hopes.” Looking up we saw his friend Mr. Bayard standing on the wharf in great agitation. He had been told by his servant that Gen. Hamilton, Mr. Pendleton, and myself, had crossed the river in a boat together, and too well he conjectured the fatal errand, and foreboded the dreadful result. Perceiving, as we came nearer, that Mr. Pendleton and myself only sat up in the stern sheets, he clasped his hands together in the most violent apprehension; but when I called to him to have a cot prepared, and he at the same moment saw his poor friend lying in the bottom of the boat, he threw up his eyes and burst into a flood of tears and lamentation. Hamilton alone appeared tranquil and composed. We then conveyed him as tenderly as possible up to the house. The distresses of this amiable family were such that till the first shock was abated, they were scarcely able to summon fortitude enough to yield sufficient assistance to their dying friend.

In his last hours, Hamilton spent time with his wife and children, and expressed his anxiety for their future and their grief.

During the night, he had some imperfect sleep; but the succeeding morning his symptoms were aggravated, attended however with a diminution of pain. His mind retained all its usual strength and composure. The great source of his anxiety seemed to be in his sympathy with his half distracted wife and children. He spoke to me frequently of them—“My beloved wife and children,” were always his expressions. But his fortitude triumphed over his situation, dreadful as it was; once, indeed, at the sight of his children brought to the bed-side together, seven in number, his utterance forsook him; he opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed them again, till they were taken away. As a proof of his extraordinary composure of mind, let me add, that he alone could calm the frantic grief of their mother. “Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian,” were the expressions with which he frequently, with a firm voice, but in pathetic and impressive manner, addressed her. His words, and the tone in which they were uttered, will never be effaced from my memory. At about two o’clock, as the public well knows, he expired.

Incorrupta fides—nudaque veritas

Quando ullum invenient parem?

Multis ille quidem flebilis occidit.

The powerful Latin phrase Dr. Hosack quoted in the letter is translated below:

“When will incorruptible Faith and naked Truth

Find another his equal?

He has died wept by many.”

Daniel Webster’s Tribute to Alexander Hamilton

The below excerpt from The Beauties of the Hon. Daniel Webster, published in 1839, captures some of Daniel Webster’s legendary respect for Alexander Hamilton and his sense

“How can I stand here to speak of the Constitution of the United States, of the wisdom of its provisions, of the difficulties attending its adoption, of the evils from which it rescued the country, and of the prosperity and power to which it has raised it, and yet pay no tribute to those who were highly instrumental in accomplishing the work?  While we are here to rejoice, that it yet stands firm and strong; while we congratulate one another that we live under its benign influence, and cherish hopes of its long duration; we cannot forget who they were, that in the day of our national infancy, in the times of despondency and despair, mainly assisted to work out our deliverance.  I should feel that I disregarded the strong recollections which the occasion presses upon us, that I was not true to gratitude, nor true to patriotism, nor true to the living or the dead, not true to your feelings or my own, if I should forbear to make mention of ALEXANDER HAMILTON.”

 Daniel Webster Desk
Image from http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/special/Desks/hdetail.cfm?id=5

In 1831, Webster gave a speech in New York, later quoted in Bartleby’s regarding Hamilton’s contributions to the financial system.

He smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of the Public Credit, and it sprung upon its feet. The fabled birth of Minerva, from the brain of Jove, was hardly more sudden or more perfect than the financial system of the United States, as it burst forth from the conceptions of Alexander Hamilton.