Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Chevalier de Colbert, 9 March [1799]

From Chevalier de Colbert1

[New York] March 9 [1799]. Discusses at length his love for Catherine Church2 and his desire to marry her. Asks Hamilton to serve as his counsel in his efforts to secure the lands granted by Georgia to Comte d’Estaing.3

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1This letter is written in French.

Colbert served with the French navy during the American Revolution. Soon after the outbreak of the French Revolution, which he opposed, he went to England. He participated in the landing at Quiberon in June, 1795, and in the insurrection of Vendémaire in October of the same year. He then returned to England and in the winter of 1796–1797 came to the United States, where he remained until the end of the century. In 1800 he returned to Europe, where he traveled until 1802. He then settled in France.

2Catherine Church was the daughter of John B. and Angelica Church.

3In 1784 the Georgia legislature granted to Charles Henri Hector, comte d’Estaing, four tracts of land of five thousand acres each in Franklin County for his services during the American Revolution (S. G. McLendon, History of the Public Domain of Georgia [Atlanta, 1924], 45).

Estaing, who was guillotined in Paris in 1794, died without children. Colbert’s claim to the land in question was based on the fact that he was Estaing’s first cousin (see Robert Morris to William Constable, March 14, 1795 [LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress]; Colbert to George Washington, January, 1797 [ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress]).

An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of May, 1799, reads: “To the Chevalier Colbert for advance toward expences incident to his land in Georgia 100” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

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