Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Elizabeth Hamilton, [15–18 September 1781]

To Elizabeth Hamilton1

[Annapolis, September 15–18, 1781]2

How chequered is human life! How precarious is happiness! How easily do we often part with it for a shadow! These are the reflections that frequently intrude themselves upon me, with a painful application. I am going to do my duty. Our operations will be so conducted, as to economize the lives of men. Exert your fortitude and rely upon heaven.

Hamilton, History description begins John C. Hamilton, Life of Alexander Hamilton, a History of the Republic of the United States of America (Boston, 1879). description ends , II, 260.

1J. C. Hamilton prints this letter with no other explanation than to state that H wrote it from Annapolis. In HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , IX, 247, this letter is dated September, 1781.

2The bulk of the American forces went from Head of Elk to either Baltimore or Annapolis, from which they then sailed for Virginia. Although there is some confusion about the matter, the period when the troops were at Annapolis appears to be September 15–18. This letter has accordingly been assigned those dates.

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