From John Dickinson1
[Wilmington, Delaware, November 30, 1801]
A sense of thy services to our Country, and the satisfaction I have received from our acquaintance, cause me to take an Interest in every Thing that importantly concerns thy Happiness.
This Disposition compells me with a heart-felt love, most deeply to sympathize with thee and thy family in your present affliction.
Could I add to this regretful Testimony any Arguments to soothe your Minds, they should with all possible Considerations of Respect be offered.
That is not in my Power.
On such occasions, Nature claims the Tribute of our sorrows—the purest We can pay to departed Merit, justly endeared to the tenderest affections our souls are capable of entertaining.
Yet amidst the Calamities of this fleeting Life, there is one source of Consolation always open.
To thy enlightened Understanding, conscious of my own Weakness and Frailty, I shall not presume to point it out.
That the Divine Goodness may enable thee and thine to enjoy all its Comforts, is my fervent Prayer.
I do not desire to trouble thee, with an Acknowledgement of this Letter reaching thy Hands. It will be enough for me, if it conveys an Evidence, that others feel with thee, and if a Persuasion of this Truth shall be in any Manner whatever grateful.
With the best Wishes I am sincerely thy Friend
the 30th of the 11th Month 1801
Alexander Hamilton Esquire
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Dickinson, a Quaker and a lawyer from Philadelphia, who is best known today as the author of Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies (Philadelphia: Printed by David Hall and William Sellers, 1768), held various offices in the colonial government of Pennsylvania. He served as governor of Delaware in 1782 and 1783. In 1801 he held no public office.
For background to this letter, see Benjamin Rush to H, November 26, 1801.