The following letter is extremely rare. It has not been reprinted in many decades (perhaps because it contains Hamilton's ardent profession of belief in the Gospel).
It is now given by itself for the first time on the Internet.
New-York, July 18th, 1804
Having read, in your paper of the 16th, a very imperfect account of my conversation with General Hamilton, the day previous to his decease, I judge it my duty to lay the following narrative before the public.
On the morning of Wednesday, the 11th inst. Shortly after the rumor of the General’s injury had created an alarm in the city, a note from Dr. Post informed me that “that he was extremely ill at Mr. Wm. Bayard’s, and expressed a particular desire to see me as soon as possible.” I went immediately. The exchange of melancholy salutation, on entering the General’s apartment, was succeeded by a silence which he broke by saying, that he “had been anxious to see me, and have the sacrament administered to him; and that this was still his wish.” I replied, that “it gave me unutterable pain to receive from him any request to which I could not accede: that, in the present instance, a compliance was incompatible with all my obligations; as it is a principle in our churches never to administer the Lord’s supper privately to any person under any circumstances.” He urged me no further. I then remarked to him, that “the holy communion is an exhibition and pledge of the mercies which the Son of God has purchased; that the absence of the sign does not exclude from the mercies signified; which were accessible to him by faith in their gracious Author.” “I am aware,” said he, “of that. It is only as a sign that I wanted it.” A short pause ensued. I resumed the discourse, by observing that “I had nothing to address him in his affliction, but that same Gospel of the grace of God, which it is my office to preach to the most obscure and illiterate; that in the sight of God all men are on a level, as all men have sinned, and come short of his glory; and that they must apply to him for pardon and life, as sinners, whose only refuge is in his grace by righteousness through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “I perceive it to be so,” said he; “I am a sinner: I look to his mercy.” I then adverted to “the infinite merit of the Redeemer, as the propitiation for sin, the sole ground of our acceptance with God; the sole channel of his favor to us; and cited the following passages of scripture, there is no name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus. He is able to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” This last passage introduced the affair of the duel, on which I reminded the General, that he was not to be instructed as to its moral aspect, that the precious blood of Christ was as effectual and as necessary to wash away the transgression which had involved him in suffering, as any other transgression; and that he must there, and there alone, seek peace for his conscience, and a hope that should “not make him ashamed.” He assented, with strong emotions, to these representations, and declared his abhorrence of the whole transaction. “It was always,” added he, “against my principles. I used every expedient to avoid the interview; but I have found, for some time past, that my life must be exposed to that man. I went to the field determined not to take his life.” He repeated his disavowal of all intention to hurt Mr. Burr; the anguish of his mind in recollecting what had passed; and his humble hope of forgiveness from his God. I recurred to the topic of the divine compassions; the freedom of pardon in the Redeemer Jesus to perishing sinners. “That grace, my dear General, which brings salvation is rich, rich.” – “Yes,” interrupted he, “it is rich grace.” – “And on that grace,” continued I, “a sinner has the highest encouragement to repose his confidence, because it is tendered to him upon the surest foundation; the scripture testifying that “we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace.” Here the General, letting go my hand, which he had held from the moment I sat down at his bedside, clasped his hands together, and, looking up towards heaven, said, with emphasis, “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.” He replaced his hand in mine, and appearing somewhat spent, closed his eyes. A little after, he fastened them on me, and I proceeded. “The simple truths of the Gospel, my dear sir, which require no abstruse investigation, but faith in the veracity of God who cannot lie, are best suited to your present condition, and they are full of consolation.” – “I feel them to be so,” replied he. I then repeated these texts of scripture: It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and of sinners the chief. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “This,” said he, “ is my support. Pray for me.” – “Shall I pray with you?” – “Yes.” I prayed with him, and heard him whisper as I went along, which I supposed to be his concurrence with the petitions. At the conclusion, he said, “Amen. God grant it.”
Being about to part with him, I told him, “I had one request to make.” He asked “what it was!” I answered “that whatever might be the issue of his affliction, he would give his testimony against the practice of dueling.” “I will,” said he. “I have done it. If that,” Evidently anticipating the event, “if that be the issue, you will find it in writing. If it please God that I recover, I shall do it in a manner which will effectually put me out of its reach in the future.” I mentioned, once more, the importance of renouncing every other dependence for the eternal world but the mercy of God in Christ Jesus; with a particular reference to the catastrophe of the morning. The General was affected, and said, “Let us not pursue the subject any further, it agitates me.” He laid his hands upon his breast, with symptoms of uneasiness, which indicated an increased difficulty of speaking. I then took my leave. He pressed my hand affectionately, and desired to see me again at a proper interval. As I was retiring, he lifted up his hands in the attitude of prayer, and said feebly, “God be merciful to” His voice sunk, so that I heard not the rest distinctly, but understood him to quote the words of the publican in the Gospel, and to end with “me a sinner.”
I saw him a second time, on the morning of Thursday; but from his appearance, and what I had heard, supposing that he could not speak without severe effort, I had no conversation with him. I prayed for a moment at his bedside, in company with his overwhelmed family and friends; and for the rest, was one of the spectators of his composure and dignity in suffering. His mind remained in its former state, and he viewed with calmness the approaching dissolution. I left him between twelve and one, and at two, as the public know, he breathed his last.
I am sir,
With much respect,
Your obedient servant,
J. M. Mason
SOURCE: The Complete Works of John M. Mason, D. D., (edited by Ebenezer Mason); volume 4, pp. 524-527
Friday, July 27, 2007
The following letter is extremely rare. It has not been reprinted in many decades (perhaps because it contains Hamilton's ardent profession of belief in the Gospel).
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
In the early periods of the French Revolution, a warm zeal for its success was in this Country a sentiment truly universal. The love of Liberty is here the ruling passion of the Citizens of the U[nited] states pervading every class animating every bosom. As long therefore as the Revolution of France bore the marks of being the cause of liberty it united all hearts concentered all opinions. But this unanimity of approbation has been for a considerable time decreasing. The excesses which have constantly multiplied, with greater and greater aggravations have successively though slowly detached reflecting men from their partiality for an object which has appeared less and less to merit regard. Their reluctance to abandon it has however been proportioned to the ardor and fondness with which they embraced it. They were willing to overlook many faults—to apologize for some enormities—to hope that better justifications existed than were seen—to look forward to more calm and greater moderation, after the first shocks of the political earthquake had subsided. But instead of this, they have been witnesses to one volcano succeeding another, the last still more dreadful that the former, spreading ruin and devastation far and wide—subverting the foundations of right security and property, of order, morality and religion—sparing neither sex nor age, confounding innocence with guilt, involving the old and the young, the sage and the madman, the long tried friend of virtue and his country and the upstart pretender to purity and patriotism – the bold projector of new treasons with the obscure in indiscriminate and profuse destruction. They have found themselves driven to the painful alternative of renouncing an object dear to their wishes or of becoming by the continuance of their affection for it accomplices with Vice Anarchy Despotism and Impiety.
But though an afflicting experience has materially lessened the number of the admirers of the French Revolution among us and has served to chill the ardor of many more, who profess to still retain their attachment to it, from what they suppose to be its ultimate tendency; yet the effect of Experience has been thus far much less than could reasonably have been expected. The predilection for it still continues extensive and ardent. And what is extraordinary it continues to comprehend men who are able to form a just estimate of the information which destroys its title to their favour.
It is not among the least perplexing phenomena of the present times, that a people like that of the U[nited] states—exemplary for humanity and moderation surpassed by no other in the love of order and a knowledge of the true principles of liberty, distinguished for purity of morals and a just reverence for Religion should so long persevere in partiality for a state of things the most cruel sanguinary and violent that ever stained the annals of mankind, a state of things which annihilates the foundations of social order and true liberty, confounds all moral distinctions and substitutes to the mild and beneficent religion of the Gospel a gloomy persecuting and desolating atheism. To the eye of a wise man, this partiality is the most inauspicious circumstance, that has appeared in the affairs of this country. It leads involuntarily and irresistibly to apprehensions concerning the soundness of our principles and the stability of our welfare. It is natural to far that the transition may not be difficult from the approbation of bad things to the imitation of them; a fear which can only be mitigated by a careful estimate as the extraneous causes that have served to mislead the public judgment.
But though we may find in these causes a solution of the fact calculated to abate our solicitude for the consequences; yet we can not consider the public happiness as out of the reach of danger so long as our principles continue to be exposed to the debauching influence of admiration for an example which, it will not be too strong to say, presents the caricature of human depravity. And the pride of national character at least can find no alleviation for the wound which must be inflicted by so ill-judged so unfortunate partiality.
If there be any thing solid in virtue—the time must come when it will have been a disgrace to have advocated the Revolution of France in its late stages.
This is a language to which the ears of the people of this country have not been accustomed. Everything has hitherto conspired to confirm the pernicious fascination by which they are enchained. There has been a positive and a negative conspiracy against the truth which has served to shut out its enlightened ray. Those who always float with the popular gale perceiving the prepossession of the people have administered to it by all the acts in their power—endeavoring to recommend themselves by an exaggerated zeal for a favourite object. Others through timidity caution or an ill-judged policy unwilling to expose themselves to the odium of resisting the general current of feeling have betrayed by silence that Truth which they were unable not to perceive. Others, whose sentiments have weight in the community have been themselves sincere dupes of [blank; nothing printed here]. Hence the voice of reason has been stifled and the Nation has been left unadmonished to travel on in one of the most degrading delusions that ever disparaged the understanding of an enlightened people.
To recal them from this dangerous error—to engage them to dismiss their prejudices & consult dispassionately their own enthusiasm to their reason and humanity would be the most important service that could be rendered to the Ustates at the present juncture. The error entertained so not a mere speculative question. The French Revolution is a political convulsion. That in a great degree shakes the whole civilized world and it is of real consequence to the principles and of course to the happiness of a Nation to estimate it rightly.
SOURCE: reprinted in Hamilton: Writings, selected and edited by Joanne B. Freeman.
Alexander Hamilton wrote the following observations on the French Revolution at the time that the Revolution was sparking much controversy in the United States. The exact date on which Hamilton penned the following is not known, largely because this piece was never published, until it was discovered while Henry Cabot Lodge (whose 12-volume collection of Hamilton's works the following writing is taken) was preparing to publish his own set of Hamilton's writings. Another point about this writing is worth noticing. The incompletion of it, and the fact that it was never published, suggests that this is another surviving example of Hamilton writing down his thoughts on paper, without, necessarily, the intent of publishing them in a pamphlet or newspaper. This proves that the outrage expressed by Hamilton in the following over the French rejection of Christianity and their violent attempts to remove it from the face of the earth was not artificial. This writing was not conjured up by Hamilton for the purpose of convincing the public that he was a Christian statesman or to manipulate the public by using religious language; he never published it. Furthermore, not only in his public writings did he piously allude to Christianity; he did it more frequently in his private correspondence.
Here is what Hamilton wrote:
"Facts, numerous and unequivocal, demonstrate that the present ÆRA is among the most extraordinary which have occurred in the history of human affairs. Opinions, for a long time, have been gradually gaining ground, which threaten the foundations of religion, morality, and society. An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation, for which natural religion was offered as the substitute. The Gospel was to be discarded as a gross imposture, but the being and attributes of GOD, the obligations of piety, even the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, were to be retained and cherished.
"In proportion as success has appeared to attend the plan, a bolder project has been unfolded. The very existence of a Deity has been questioned and in some instances denied. The duty of piety has been ridiculed, the perishable nature of man asserted, and his hopes bounded to the short span of his earthly state. DEATH has been proclaimed an ETERNAL SLEEP; "the dogma of the immortality of the soul a cheat, invented to torment the living for the benefit of the dead." Irreligion, no longer confined to the closets of conceited sophists, nor to the haunts of wealthy riot, has more or less displayed its hideous front among all classes.
"Wise and good men took a lead in delineating the odious character of despotism, in
exhibiting the advantages of a moderate and well-balanced government, in inviting nations to contend for the enjoyment of national liberty. Fanatics in political science have since exaggerated and perverted their doctrines. Theories of government unsuited to the nature of man, miscalculating the force of his passions, disregarding the lessons of experimental wisdom, have been projected and recommended. These have everywhere attracted sectaries, and everywhere the fabric of government has been in different degrees undermined.
A league has at length been cemented between the apostles and disciples of irreligion and of anarchy. Religion and government have both been stigmatized as abuses; as unwarrantable restraints upon the freedom of man; as causes of the corruption of his nature, intrinsically good; as sources of an artificial and false morality which tyrannically robs him of the enjoyments for which his passions fit him, and as clogs upon his progress to the perfection for which he was destined.
As a corollary from these premises, it is a favorite tenet of the sect that religious opinion of any sort is unnecessary to society; that the maxims of a genuine morality and the authority of the magistracy and the laws are a sufficient and ought to be the only security for civil rights and private happiness.
As another corollary, it is occasionally maintained by the same sect that but a small portion of power is requisite to government; that even this portion is only temporarily necessary, in consequence of the bad habits which have been produced by the errors of ancient systems; and that as human nature shall refine and ameliorate by the operation of a more enlightened plan, government itself will become useless, and society will subsist and flourish free from shackles.
If all the votaries of this new philosophy do not go the whole length of its frantic creed, they all go far enough to endanger the full extent of the mischiefs which are inherent in so wild and fatal a scheme, every modification of which aims a mortal blow at the vitals of human happiness.
The practical development of this pernicious system has been seen in France. It has served as an engine to subvert all her ancient institutions, civil and religious, with all the checks that served to mitigate the rigor of authority; it has hurried her headlong through a rapid succession of dreadful revolutions, which have laid waste property, made havoc among the arts, overthrown cities, desolated provinces, unpeopled regions, crimsoned her soil with blood, and deluged it in crime, poverty, and wretchedness; and all this as yet for no better purpose than to erect on the ruins of former things a despotism unlimited and uncontrolled; leaving to a deluded, an abused, a plundered, a scourged, and an oppressed people, not even the shadow of liberty to console them for a long train of substantial misfortunes, of bitter suffering.
This horrid system seemed awhile to threaten the subversion of civilized society and the introduction of general disorder among mankind. And though the frightful evils which have been its first and only fruits have given a check to its progress, it is to be feared that the poison has spread too widely and penetrated too deeply to be as yet eradicated. Its activity has indeed been suspended, but the elements remain, concocting for new eruptions as occasion shall permit. It is greatly to be apprehended that mankind is not near the end of the misfortunes which it is calculated to produce, and that it still portends a long train of convulsion, revolution, carnage, devastation, and misery.
Symptoms of the too great prevalence of this system in the United States are alarmingly visible. It was by its influence that efforts were made to embark this country in a common cause with France in the early period of the present war; to induce our government to sanction and promote her odious principles and views with the blood and treasure of our citizens. It is by its influence that every succeeding revolution has been approved or excused; all the horrors that have been committed justified or extenuated; that even the last usurpation, which contradicts all the ostensible principles of the Revolution, has been regarded with complacency, and the despotic constitution engendered by it slyly held up as a model not unworthy of our imitation.
In the progress of this system, impiety and infidelity have advanced with gigantic
strides. Prodigious crimes heretofore unknown among us are seen. The chief and idol of
* * * "
[The rest is wanting.] by Alexander Hamilton
Footnotes [of H. C. Lodge]
1. This fragment, now first printed, from the Hamilton MSS., vol. xv., p. 117, has no
date, but is of interest as showing the effect produced upon his mind by the French
Revolution, and why that great convulsion so affected and colored the views of the
Federalists and of the more conservative classes of every community.
SOURCE: "Fragment on the French Revolution," The Works of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Henry Cabot Lodge, volume 8
Saturday, July 7, 2007
August 17, 1804
[To William Coleman, Editor of the New York Evening Post]
To comply with your request is a painful task; but I will repress my feelings while I endeavor to furnish you with an enumeration of such particulars relative to the melancholy end of our beloved friend Hamilton, as dwell most forcibly on my recollection.
When called to him, upon receiving the fatal wound, I found him half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget – He had at that instant just strength to say, "This is a mortal wound, Doctor;" when he sunk away, and became to all appearance to be lifeless. I immediately stripped up his clothes, and soon, alas! ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been through some vital part.*
His pulses were not to be felt; his respiration was entirely suspended; and upon laying my hand on his heart, and perceiving no motion there, I considered as irrecoverably gone. I however observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and carried him out of the wood, to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately put off. During this time I could not discover the least symptom of his returning life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples, with spirits of hartshorne, applied it to his neck and breast, and to the wrists and palms of his hands, and endeavored to pour some into his mouth. When we had got, as I should judge, about 50 yards from the shore, some imperfect efforts to breathe were for the first time manifest: in a few minutes he sighed, and became sensible to the impression of the hartshorne, or the fresh air of the water: He breathed; his eyes, hardly opened, wandered, without fixing upon any objects; to our great joy he at length spoke: "My vision is indistinct," were his first words. His pulse became more perceptible; his respiration more regular; his sight returned. I then examined the wound to know if there was any dangerous charge of blood; upon slightly pressing his side it gave him pain; on which I desisted. Soon after recovering his sight, he happened to cast his eye upon the case of pistols, and observing the one that he had in his hand lying on the outside, he said, "Take care of that pistol; it is undischarged, and still cocked; it may go off and do harm; -- Pendleton knows ( attempting to turn his head towards him) that I did not intend to fire at him." "Yes," said Mr. Pendleton, understanding his wish, "I have already acquainted Dr. Hosack with your determination as to do that." He then closed his eyes, and remained calm, without any disposition to speak; nor did he say much afterwards, excepting in reply to my questions as to his feelings. He asked me once or twice, how I found his pulse; and he informed me that his lower extremities had lost all feeling; manifesting to me that he entertained no hopes that he could long survive. I changed the posture of his limbs, but to no purpose; they had totally lost their sensibility. Perceiving that we approached the shore, he said, "Let Mrs. Hamilton be immediately sent for – let the event be gradually broken to her; but give her hopes." Looking up we saw his friend Mr. Bayard standing on the wharf in great agitation. He had been told by his servant that Gen. Hamilton, Mr. Pendleton and myself, had crossed the river in a boat together, and too well he conjectured the fatal errand, and foreboded the dreadful result. Perceiving, as we came nearer, that Mr. Pendleton and myself only sat up in the stern sheets, he clasped his hands together in the most violent apprehension; but when I called him to have a cot prepared, and he at the same moment saw his poor friend lying in the bottom of the boat, he threw up his eyes and burst into a flood of tears and lamentation. Hamilton alone appeared tranquil and composed. We then conveyed him as tenderly as possible up to the house. The distress of this amiable family were such that till the first shock was abated, they were scarcely able to summon fortitude enough to yield sufficient assistance to their dying friend.
Upon our reaching the house he became more languid, occasioned probably by the agitation of his removal from th boat. I gave him a little weak wine and water. When he recovered his feelings, he complained of pain in his back; we immediately undressed him, laid him in bed, and darkened the room. I then gave him large anodyne fomentations were also applied to those parts nearest the seat of his pain – Yet were his sufferings, during the whole of the day, almost intolerable.**
During the night, he had some imperfect sleep; but the succeeding morning his symptoms were aggravated, attended however with a diminution of pain. His mind retained all its usual strength and composure. The great source of his anxiety seemed to be in his sympathy with his half distracted wife and children. He spoke to me frequently of them – "My beloved wife and children," were always his expressions. But his fortitude triumphed over his situation, dreadful as it was; once, indeed, at the sight of his children brought to the bed-side together, seven in number, his utterance forsook him; he opened his eyes, gave them one look, and closed them again, till they were taken away. As proof of his extraordinary composure of mind, let me add, that he alone could calm the frantic grief of their mother. "Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian," were expressions with which he frequently, with a firm voice, but in a pathetic and impressive manner, addressed her. His words, and the tone in which they were uttered, will never be erased from my memory. At about two o'clock, as the public well knows, he expired.
"Incorrupta fides – nudaque veritas
Quando ullum invnient parem?
Multis ille quidem flebilis occidit."
*For the satisfaction of some of General Hamilton's friends I examined his body after death, in presence of Dr. Post and two other gentlemen. I had discovered that the ball struck the second or third false rib, fractured it about in the middle; it then passed through the liver and diaphragm, and, as nearly as we could ascertain without a minute of examination, lodged in th first or second lumbar vertebra. The vertebra in which it was lodged was considerably splintered, so that the spiculae were distinctly perceptible to the finger. About a pint of clotted blood was found in the cavity of the belly, which had probably been effused from the divided vessels of the liver.
** As his habit was delicate and had been lately disordered more feeble by ill health, particularly by a disorder of the stomach and bowels, I carefully avoided all those remedies which are usually indicated on such occasions.
I had not the shadow of a hope of his recovery, and Dr. Post, whom I requested might be sent for immediately on our reaching Mr. Bayard's house, suited with me in this opinion. General Rey, the French Consul, also had the goodness to invite the surgeons of the French frigates on our harbor, as they had much experience on gunshot wounds, to render their assistance. They immediately came; but to prevent his being disturbed I stated to them his situation, described the nature of his wound and the direction of the ball, with all the symptoms that could enable them to form an opinion as to the event. One of the gentlemen then accompanied me to bed side. The result was a confirmation of the opinion that had already been expressed by Dr. Post and myself.
I am, Sir,
Your friend and humble serv't
[New York] Thursday evening, July 12 .
Mr. Coleman [Editor of the New York Evening Post],
The public mind being extremely agitated by the melancholy fate of that great man, ALEXANDER HAMILTON, I have thought it would be grateful to my fellow-citizens, would provide against misrepresentation, and, perhaps, be conductive to the advancement of the cause of Religion, were I to give a narrative of some facts which have fallen under my own observation, during the time which elapsed between the fatal duel and his departure out of this world.
Yesterday morning, immediately after he was brought from Hoboken to the house of Mr. [William] Bayard, at Greenwich, a message was sent informing me of the sad event, accompanied by a request from General Hamilton, that I would come to him for th purpose of administering the holy communion. I went; but being desirous to afford time for serious reflection, and conceiving that under existing circumstances, it would be right and proper to avoid every appearance of precipitancy in performing one of the most solemn offices of our religion, I did not comply with his desire. At one o'clock I was again called on to visit him. Upon my entering the room and approaching his bed, with the utmost calmness and composure he said, "My dear Sir, you perceive my unfortunate situation, and no doubt have been made acquainted with the circumstances which led to it. It is my desire to receive the Communion at your hands. I hope you will not conceive there is any impropriety in my request." He added, "It has for some time past been the wish of my heart, and it was my intention to take early opportunity of uniting myself to the church, by the reception of that holy ordinance." I observed to him that he must be very sensible of the delicate and trying situation in which I was then placed; that however desirous I might be to afford consolation to a fellow mortal in distress; still, it was my duty as a minister of the gospel, to hold up the law of God as paramount to all other law; and that, therefore, under the influence of such sentiments, I must unequivocally condemn the practice which had brought him to his present unhappy condition. He acknowledged the propriety of these sentiments, and declared that he had viewed the late transaction with sorrow and contrition. I then asked him, "Should it please God, to restore you to health, Sir, will you never be again engaged in a similar transaction? and will you employ all your influence in society to discountenance his barbarous custom?" His answer was, "That, Sir, is my deliberate intention."
I proceeded to converse with him on the subject of his receiving the Communion; and told him that with respect to the qualifications of those who wished to become partakers of those who wished to become partakers of that holy ordinance, my inquiries could not be made in language more expressive than that which was used by our Church. "Do you sincerely repent of your sins past? Have you a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ? And are you disposed to live in love and charity with all men?" He lifted up his hands and said, "With the utmost sincerity of heart I can answer those questions in the affirmative – I have no ill will against Col. Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm – I forgive all that happened." I then observed to him, that he terrors of the divine law were to be announced to the obdurate and impenitent: but that the consolations of the Gospel were to be offered to the humble and contrite heart: that I had no reason to doubt his sincerity, and would proceed immediately to gratify his wishes. The Communion was then administered, which he received with great devotion, and his heart afterwards appeared to be perfectly at rest. I saw him again this morning, when, with his last faltering words, he expressed a strong confidence in the mercy of God through the intercession of the Redeemer. I remained with him until 2 o'clock this afternoon, when death closed the awful scene – he expired without a struggle, and almost without a groan.
By reflecting on this melancholy event, let the humble believer be encouraged ever to hold fast that precious faith which is the only source of true consolation in the last extremity of nature. Let the Infidel be persuaded to abandon his opposition to that gospel which the strong, inquisitive and comprehensive mind of a HAMILTON embraced, in his last moments, as the truth from heaven. Let those who are disposed to justify the practice of duelling [sic] be induced, by this simple narrative, to view with abhorrence that custom which ha occasioned as irreparable loss to a worthy and most afflicted family; which has deprived his friends of a beloved companion, his profession of one of its brightest ornaments, and his country of a great statesman and a real patriot.
With great respect,
I remain your friend and servant,