From Philip Schuyler
Albany April 16th 1803
My Dear Sir
Every letter of yours affords a mean of consolation, and I am well aware that nothing lends so much [to] the alleviation of distress, as the personal intercourse with a sincere friend, and the endearing Attentions of children. I shall therefore delay no longer than is indispensibly necessary my visit to you—my trial has been severe.1 I have attempted to sustain it with fortitude. I have I hope succeeded in a degree, but after giving and receiving for nearly half a century a series of mutual evidences of an affection and of a friendship which increased as we advanced in life, the shock to me was great & most Sensibly felt, to be thus suddenly deprived of a beloved wife, the Mother of my Children, and the Soothing companion of my declining days. But as I kiss the rod with humility, the being that inflicted the stroke will enable me to sustain the smart, and progressively restore peace to a wounded heart, and will make you & my Eliza and my other Children the instruments of Consolation.
There has not been the least indication of the gout rising to the vital parts. It continues in my foot, but with diminished force, and will probable soon be expelled as the season becomes more mild.
I have Obtained a copy of the Act, for the Adjustment of the Controversy in Hillsdale,2 and shall transmit it to you, by the first person going to NYork in whose care I can have confidence.
Mr. Yates’s3 declining to stand as a candidate for the office of Senator in this district, altho It will give some more votes to Mr Lush,4 will nevertheless tend to increase the number in favor of Mr. Taylor,5 and I apprehend he will be returned.6 The democratic infection has taken such deep root, and will continue to be cherished, as long as pecuniary means can be found to carry on Government without recourse to taxation, for the people are incapable of appreciating the injury the[y] sustain from a diminution of their Capital Stock. And this system will be prosecuted until all is expended, unless an exterior pressure should drive our rulers to the necessity of other means for supplies. Nor should I be much surprized in the Case of such a pressure, If the Interest on the national debt was diverted to the relief of the Moment. For there appears to me, no folly, no measure however Atrocious to which the wretches who could hire a miscreant7 to defame Washington & his virtuos consellers, are unequal.
My Children are all in health, and unite with me In love to you to my Dear Eliza and my dear Grandchildren. I am My Dear Sir
with the tenderest affection ever yours
ALS, Lloyd W. Smith Collection, Morristown National Historical Park, Morristown, New Jersey.
2. “An Act for settling the disputes and controversies between the representatives of John Van Rensselaer the elder, deceased, and the possessors of lands in the town of Hillsdale, in the County of Columbia” (New York Laws, 26th Sess., Ch. LXXVI [April 2, 1803]). This act provided for the appointment of commissioners by the state legislature to settle the dispute over lands in Claverack, Columbia County, New York, between the heirs of Van Rensselaer, Philip Schuyler’s father-in-law, and those individuals whom Van Rensselaer had charged with occupying his lands without acknowledging themselves as his tenants. For information concerning this controversy and its settlement, see Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , forthcoming volumes. See also Schuyler to H, September 9, 1801.
3. John Van Ness Yates of Albany was a Republican, a lawyer, and a legal scholar.
4. Stephen Lush, a veteran of the American Revolution a Federalist and an Albany merchant, was a member of the New York Assembly in 1792, 1793, 1803, and of the state Senate in 1800, 1801, and 1802.
5. John Tayler, a Republican and an Albany merchant and land speculator, was a member of the state Assembly from 1777 to 1779 and 1780 to 1781 and in 1786 and 1787. From 1797 to 1803 he was a judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Albany County.
6. On March 22, 1803, a meeting of Federalists at the City Tavern in Albany nominated Lush for state senator from the Eastern District of New York. Subsequently, Federalists in other towns in Albany County endorsed Lush’s nomination (The Albany Centinel, April 1, 5, 12, 26, 1803). During March, various groups of Republicans in Albany County nominated Yates and Tayler for the New York Senate. An article, which appeared in The Albany Centinel on April 1, 1803, and is signed by “A True Republican,” reads in part: “It is a mortifying truth, that an officious committee of three persons, sent from the city of Albany to Schenectady, have made an arrangement with Mr. Yates to forego a competition with Mr. Tayler at the approaching election, upon the express condition, that he is to be supported by the republican party as a candidate to fill the next vacancy in the Senate which may happen in this county.” See also The Albany Centinel, April 12, 1803; New-York Evening Post, April 2, 1803. Tayler won the election for state senator, which was held on April 26, 1803.