University of Virginia Library


My Dear Sister

After taking leave of you on board of the Packet, I hastened
home to sooth and console your sister.[1] I found her in bitter distress;
though much recovered from the agony, in which she had been, by the
kind cares of Bruce[2] and the Baron.[3] After composing her by
a flattering picture of your prospects for the voyage and a strong
of hope, that she had not taken a last farewell of you;
The Baron little Phillip[4] and myself, with her consent, walked down
to the Battery, where with aching hearts and anxious eyes we
saw your vessel, in full sail, swiftly bearing our loved friend
from our embraces. Imagine what we felt. We gazed, we sighed,
we wept; and casting "many a lingering longing look behind"
returned home to give scope to our sorrows, and mingle
without restraint, our tears and our regrets. The good Baron
has more than ever rivetted himself in my affection : to observe
his unaffected solicitude and see his old eyes brimful of sympathy
has something in it that won my whole soul and filled me with
more than usual complacency for human nature. Amiable Angelica!
how much you are formed to endear yourself to every good
heart. How deeply you have rooted yourself in the affections of
your friends on this side the Atlantic! Some of us are and
must continue inconsolable for your absence.

Betsey and myself make you the
last theme of our conversation at night and the first in the
morning. We talk of you; we praise you and we pray for
you. We dwell with peculiar interest on the little incidents

that preceded your departure. Precious and never to be forgotten

But let me check My dear Sister,
these effusions of regretful friendship. Why should I alloy the
happiness that courts you in the bosom of your family by
images that must wound your sensibility? It shall not be.
However difficult or little natural it is to me to suppress what
the fullness of my heart would utter, the sacrifice shall be made
to your care and satisfaction.

I shall not fail to execute any
commission you gave me nor neglect any of your charges-[5]
Those particularly contained in your letter by the Pilot, for which
Betsey joins me in returning a thousand thanks, shall be
observed in all their extent. Already have I addressed the
consolation, I mentioned to you, to your Father. I have no
doubt the arguments I have used with him will go far towards
reconciling his mind to the unexpected step you took. I hope
the enclosed letters may not be such as to give you pain. They
arrived the day after you set sail.[6]

I shall commit the letter to Betsey
to add whatever her little affectionate heart may dictate—
Kiss your children for me. Teach them to consider me as
your and their father's friend. I shall by the first direct
opportunity begin a correspondence with Philip.[7] I have
serious designs upon his heart and I flatter myself I am
not a bad marksman. Adieu Dear Angelica! Remember
us always as you ought to do... Remember us as we
shall you.

Your ever affect. friend & brother
A. Hamilton

Angelica Church had been in the United States since the spring of 1789, visiting with her parents in Albany and with her sister Elizabeth and her husband Alexander Hamilton in New York City. She sailed for London to rejoin her husband John Barker Church early in November.


This may be Judith Van Rensselaer Bruce, the wthdow of a British medical officer, William Bruce.


Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus, Baron von Steuben (1730-1794) came to the United States in 1777 after an extensive military career in Europe. He made valuable contributions to the Continental Army during the American Revolution as an insructor in tactics and dicipline. In May 1778 he was appointed inspector generalof the army with the rank of major general. After the war Steuben settled in New York where he became something of a social lion. Hamilton was a close friend and advisor in Steuben's complicated financial affairs.


Philip Hamilton (1782-1801) was the eldest son of Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton.


Angelica wrote to Hamilton early in November. She requested Hamilton to "sooth my poor Betsy, comfort her with the assurances that I will certainly return to take care of her soon. Remember this also yourself my dearest Brother and let neither politics or ambition drive your Angelica from your affections" (Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).


Hamilton enclosed a note to Angelica from Elizabeth Hamilton, 8 Nov.: "My Very Dear beloved Angelica—I have seated my self to write to you, but my heart is so sadned by your Absence that it can scarsly dictate, my Eyes so filled with tears that I shall not be able to write you much but Remember Remember, my Dear sister of the Assurances of your returning to us, and do all you can to make your Absence short. Tell Mr. Church for me of the happiness he will give me, in bringing you to me, not to me alone but to fond parents sisters friends and to my Hamilton who has for you all the Affection of a fond own Brother. I can no more. E.H." (ALS, Angelica Church Collection, University of Virginia Library).


Philip Church was the son of Angelica and John Barker Church.