Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Angelica Church, 22 January [1800]

To Angelica Church

[Albany] Wednesday Jany 22d [1800]

The fatigues of my journey were solaced this morning by a happy meeting with your father and mother. The very favourable accounts which I had had of your father’s health fell short of the reality. He is astonishingly recovered. The reception he gave me was more than usually cordial; for which I am no doubt indebted to your recommendation.

The pleasure of this was heightened by that of dining in the presence of a lady for whom I have a particular friendship.1 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. Trumbull2 for an explanation.

Your sister Margaret is also wonderfully restored. She and Mr. Rensselaer3 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 sides of my family & friends. Remember me affecty to Mr. Church.

Adieu Dr sister


Mrs. Church

ALS, Judge Peter B. Olney, Deep River, Connecticut.

1H is referring to a portrait of Angelica Church with her son Philip and a servant. This portrait was painted by John Trumbull in London in 1784.

2John Trumbull, a son of Jonathan Trumbull who was a former governor of Connecticut, had served for a short time as an aide to George Washington during the American Revolution. In 1780 he went to London to study painting with Benjamin West. He accompanied Angelica Church on a trip to Paris in December, 1787, and he was John Jay’s private secretary in London in 1794. On May 31, 1796, he was appointed an agent “for the purpose of obtaining the release of impressed American citizens” (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 213). On August 25, 1796, he was selected as the fifth commissioner under Article 7 of the Jay Treaty by the other four commissioners. Trumbull did not return to the United States until 1804.

3Margarita Schuyler Van Rensselaer and her husband, Stephen Van Rensselaer, who was lieutenant governor of New York.

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