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Hamilton, Alexander (1757-1804) to Elizabeth Schuyler

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00773 Author/Creator: Hamilton, Alexander (1757-1804) Place Written: Tappan, New York Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 5 October 1780 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 23 x 19 cm

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Summary of Content: Begins a dramatic love letter to his fiancee with, " I have told you, and I told you truly that I love you too much . . . I meet you in every dream. . . I am to be thus monopolized by a little nut brown maid like you and from a Statesman and soldier metamorphosed into a puny lover." Continues on to say how much he misses her, but that he must remain until Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison returns. States that he will not be delayed past November and assures her that he is doing everything in his power to return. Descriptively explains how much he loves and misses her, ". . . my darling Betsey, to taste the heaven that awaits me in your bosom. Is my language too strong? . . . you will only know when wrapt in each others arms we give and take those delicious caresses which love inspires and marriage sanctifies." Admonishes her for not writing enough. Asks whether she would prefer him to wear his uniform for their marriage and whether she wants to follow their plan to be married secretly. Requests that she ask Margarita Schuyler (Peggy, Elizabeth's sister) if she will serve as the main character in a writing of his entitled, "The way to get him, for the benefit of all single ladies who desire to be married."

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution. Schuyler was the daughter of General Philip Schuyler and Hamilton's fiancee at the time. They married in December 1780.

Full Transcript: I have told you, and I told you truly that I love you too much-You engross my thoughts too entirely to allow me to think of any thing else-You not ...only employ my mind all day; but you intrude upon my sleep-I meet you in every dream-and when I wake I cannot close my eyes again for ruminating on your sweetnesses [sic]-Tis a pretty story indeed that I am to be thus monopolized, by a little nut-brown maid like you-and from a Statesman and a soldier [struck: illegible illegible illegible] [inserted: metamorphosed] into a puny lover-I believe in my soul you are an inchantress [sic]; but I have tried in vain, if not to break, at least, to weaken the charms-you maintain your empire in spite of all my efforts-and after every new one, [inserted: I make to withdraw myself from my allegiance] my partial heart still returns and clings to you with increased attachment-To drop figure my lovely girl you become dearer to me every moment-I am more and more [2] unhappy and impatient under the hard necessity that keeps me from you, and yet the prospect lengthens as I advance-Harrison has just received an account of the death of his father and will be obliged to go to Virginia-Meade's affairs (as well as his love) compel him to go there also in a little time-There will then remain to few in the family to make it possible for me to leave it till Harrisons return-but I have told him that I will not be delayed beyond November-I had hoped the middle would have given us to each other; but I now fear it will be the latter end-Though the period of our reunion in reality approaches it seems further off-Among other causes of uneasiness, I dread lest you should imagine, I yield too easily to the barrs [sic], that keep us asunder; but if you have such an idea you ought to banish it and reproach yourself with injustice-A spirit entering into bliss, heaven opening upon all its [struck: illegible] [inserted: faculties], cannot long more ardently for the enjoyment, than I do my darling Betsey, to taste the heaven [3] that awaits me in your bosom. Is my language too strong? it is a feeble picture of my feelings:-[struck: w] words can tell you how much I love and how much I long-you will only know it when wrapt [sic] in each others arms we give and take those delicious caresses which love inspires and marriage sanctifies-
Indeed my Dear Betsey you do not write to me often enough-I ought at least to hear from you by every post and your last letter is as old as the middle of Septr-I have written you twice since my return from Hartford-
You will laugh at me for consulting you about just a trifle; but I want to know, whether you would prefer my receiving the nuptial benediction in my uniform or in a different habit-It will be just as you please; so consult your whim and what you think most consistent with propriety-
If you mean to follow our plan of being secretly married, the scruple ought to appear entirely your own, and you should begin to give hints of it-
Tell my Peggy I will shortly open a correspondence with her-I am [struck: illegible] composing a piece, of which, from the opinion I have of her qualifications, I shall endeavour to prevail upon her to act the principal [4] character. The title is "The way to get him, for the benefit of all single ladies who desire to be married" You will ask her, if she has any objection to taking a part in this piece; and tell [inserted: her] that, if I am not much mistaken in her, I am sure she will have none. For your own part, your business now is to study "the way to keep him"-which is said to be much the more difficult task of the two; though in your case I verily believe it will be an easy one, and that to succeed effectually you will only have to wish it sincerely - May I only be as successful in pleasing you, and may you be as happy as [inserted: I shall ever] wish to make you! A Hamilton
October [struck: 6] [inserted: 5] 80
I promised you a particular account of Andre, I am writing one of the whole affair of which I will send you a copy-

[written on left hand margin of page 4: Septr 3- / October 5-]
See More

People: Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804
Hamilton, Elizabeth Schuyler, 1757-1854
Van Rensselaer, Margaret (Schuyler)., 1758-1801
Harrison, Robert Hanson, 1745-1790

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: MarriageWomen's HistoryLove LettersSexualityMilitary UniformsRevolutionary WarLiterature and Language Arts

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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