Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James McHenry, 28 July 1798

To James McHenry

Philadelphia July 28. 1798

Dear Sir

I send you a number of applications for Military appointments with br[i]ef notes of my opinion.

Allow me to remind you in writing of my nephew Philip Church1 whom I warmly recommend for a Captaincy in the Infantry. He is the eldest son of his father, has had a good education is a young man of sense of genuine spirit and worth—of considerable expectation in point of fortune. I shall esteem his appointment to this grade a personal favour, while I believe that it will consist with every rule of propriety.

There are two other young Gentlemen whom I must also recommend to your attention. They are Volckert Peter Van Rensselaer and Jeremiah H. Van Rensselaer nephews of Mrs. Schuyler.2 They are of honest and brave blood and of fair character—I recommend one as a first the other as a second Lieutenant.3

Yrs with great regard


ADfS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Church, the son of John B. and Angelica Church, was Elizabeth Hamilton’s nephew. He attended Eton for six years and studied law at the Middle Temple in London. After the Church family returned to the United States in 1797, Philip Church entered the law office of Nathaniel Pendleton. On January 8, 1799, he was commissioned a captain in the Twelfth Regiment of Infantry (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 299, 303), and on January 12, 1799, he became an aide-de-camp to H (H to Church, January 12, 1799). In 1800, at a sale ordered by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, he purchased for his father the Genesee tract that Robert Morris had mortgaged to John B. Church as security for a debt. He agreed to manage the land for his father and named the first town in the tract Angelica for his mother (see Morris to H, June 7, 1795). In 1807 Philip Church became a judge of the Court of General Sessions for Allegany County.

2Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler was H’s mother-in-law. Volkert and Jeremiah H. Van Rensselaer were the sons of her brother, Henry John Van Rensselaer.

3In the margin opposite this paragraph H wrote: “I ought not to have left for the Margin a young Gentleman whose success extremely interests me Richard Willing son of The President of the Bank who applies for a Captaincy in the horse. He has strong pretensions & all things considered will I doubt not be a judicious appointment.”

On January 8, 1799, Willing, who was the son of Thomas Willing, president of the Bank of the United States, was appointed a captain in the cavalry (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 298, 303).

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