From James Tod1
New Utrecht [New York] 25 Feb. 1800
I called at your house on Saturday last to inform you and Mrs Hamilton that both your Sons here are making such progress in their education as gives me real Satisfaction.
I was highly gratified with the two orations delivered in Town on Saturday.2 That part of Dr. Linn’s3 where he made your deceased Friend address America when dying was a bold Stroke of oratory. To me the Sentiments contained in it appeared worthy of the great Man. A hint from you before it was delivered would have made him leave out that part where he compared the deceased to Moses, Joshua & David &c.—which to Men of discernment will appear the only exceptionable part of the oration. The Cincinnati (if they have not done it already) ought to request Mr. Mason4 to publish his oration.5 There was certainly an originality of thought, an energy of expression, and a genius displayed in the arrangement which as far as I am able to judge is not to be met with in any of the exhibitions yet published on the Same occasion.
For my part I have only one wish more on the Subject which I suppose never will be gratified. That is to See the Character drawn by one who assisted in his Counsels both during the time he was Commander in Chief and President of the United States.
I beg leave to remain with great respect your humble Servant
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Tod, who had been a schoolteacher in Scotland, was a printer in Princeton, New Jersey, from 1786 to 1787. He then taught school in New Utrecht, where he died in 1802.
2. This is a reference to the ceremonies held on February 22, 1800, in accordance with a proclamation by President John Adams. See William S. Smith to H, February 24, 1800, note 1. The Society of the Cincinnati conducted the memorial services for Washington in New York City. The Committee of Arrangement of the Society published its plan for the ceremonies in The NewYork Gazette and General Advertiser on February 22, 1800, and a description of the services and sermon appeared in that newspaper on February 24, 1800.
3. William Linn was pastor of the Collegiate Dutch Church, New York City. His oration was published as A Funeral Eulogy, occasioned by the death of General Washington. Delivered February 22d, 1800, before the New-York State Society of the Cincinnati (New York: Printed by Isaac Collins, 1800).
4. John M. Mason was minister of the Brick Presbyterian Church, New York City.
5. John M. Mason, A funeral oration, delivered in the Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New-York, on the 22d Day of February, 1800 … for the Death of Gen. Washington … (New-York: Printed by G. F. Hopkins, 1800).