Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Marry: December 14, 1780
Posted by Gilder Lehrman Institute Staff on Thursday, 12/14/2017
Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler married on December 14, 1780, at the Schuyler family home in Albany, New York. The romance between Elizabeth and Alexander had moved quickly—within a month of meeting, they decided to marry. The Schuylers were one of the wealthiest and most socially prominent families in New York, and Hamilton was well aware of his own poverty and lack of connections. Elizabeth’s mother, Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler, was a formidable woman. In this April 14, 1780, letter, recently acquired by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, Hamilton writes to convince his prospective mother-in-law that he is worthy to marry her daughter:
I cannot forbear indulging my feelings, by entreating you to accept the assurances of my gratitude for your kind compliance with my wishes to be united to your amiable daughter. I leave it to my conduct rather than expressions to testify the sincerity of my affection for her— the respect I have for her parents— the desire I shall always feel to justify their confidence and merit their friendship. May I hope Madam, you will not consider it as mere profession, when I add, that though I have not the happiness of a personal acquaintence with you, I am no stranger to the qualities which distinguish your character and these make the relation in which I shall stand to you, not one of the least pleasing circumstances of my union with your daughter.
Hamilton’s efforts evidently worked: Elizabeth was the only one of the five Schuyler sisters to marry with her parents’ blessing; the others eloped.