Aaron Burr and also Alexander Hamilton. Aaron Burr, 1756-1836, bust portrait. Sculpture by G. Parker of painting by john Vanderlyn. (New York, 1836). Library of congress Prints and also Photographs Division, //hdl.vxcialistoufjg.com.gov/vxcialistoufjg.com.pnp/cph.3b00529. Alexander Hamilton, 1757-1804, half-length portrait.  Library of conference Prints and also Photographs Division, //hdl.vxcialistoufjg.com.gov/vxcialistoufjg.com.pnp/cph.3b37446.

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On the morning the July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton met in Weehawken, new Jersey because that a duel that would prove fatal for Alexander Hamilton. Burr was outraged over derogatory comment made through Hamilton concerning Burr’s character at a dinner organized by Judge john Tayler in march of 1804. This comments were recorded by a Dr. Charles D. Cooper who sent off an account to his friend, stating the Hamilton described Burr as a “dangerous man and one that ought no to be trusted.” this comments were ultimately published in the New-York night Post. Hamilton’s father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, comment by drafting a letter insisting that Hamilton had actually pledged to continue to be neutral in the upcoming brand-new York gubernatorial election in i m sorry Burr was a candidate, and also that Hamilton can not have made the comments about Burr that were attributed to him. Dr. Cooper, annoyed by the implication the he had actually invented the story, comment by affirming his comments, advertising that he had actually been careful in recounting them, and also stating “for really, sir, I could detail come you a still more despicable opinion which basic Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr.”

Weeks ~ his loss in the brand-new York gubernatorial election, Burr channeled his rage right into a series of letters v Hamilton, demanding that Hamilton disavow the comment attributed to him that impugned Burr’s character. Hamilton’s legalistic an answer did small to placate Burr, with Hamilton insisting that Burr recount specific, offensive observations he had actually made about Burr’s character, which he would then affirm or deny. The men who would at some point serve as secs in the duel, william Van Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton, additionally shuttled back and forth in between the principals in a vain effort to negotiate a negotiation to the matter.


With initiatives to peacefully solve the matter at one impasse, the combatants arranged to meet on the dueling floor of Weehawken because that an affair of honor. Alexander Hamilton thought dueling to it is in a barbarous practice, yet he can not refuse to get involved in the duel without gift branded a coward, a stigma that would certainly forfeit his capability to command respect in windy life. Torn between his principled opposition to the practice and also a (chivalric) code of honor the demanded a gentleman keep his social standing by demonstrating vessel in the challenge of death, Hamilton solved to get involved in the duel, but to throw away his first shot. Hamilton connected his intention to Nathaniel Pendleton and Rufus King and also documented the in a letter.  yet it does not seem the this on purpose was connected to Aaron Burr.

On the morning that July 11, the principals, seconds, and also Dr. David Hosack were rowed follow me the Hudson flow to the dueling floor in Weehawken, new Jersey, a site chosen due to brand-new Jersey’s more lenient therapy of dueling. True to his convictions, Hamilton fired into the woods. Burr fired his shot and hit his mark, highlight Hamilton in the abdomen.  instantly realizing the gravity of his injury, Hamilton declared, “I am a dead man,” before falling to the ground. Pendleton then called for Dr. Hosack, who attended Hamilton as he to be rowed back to brand-new York. Hamilton briefly rallied, long sufficient to tell Hosack, “Let Mrs. Hamilton be automatically sent for. Let the event be gradually broken to her, however give she hopes.” After getting here in brand-new York, Hamilton was required to a mansion own by wilhelm Bayard, where he died.


Detail from a print of The Burr and Hamilton duel, 11 July, 1804, at Weehawken, N.J. Library of conference Prints and Photographs Division, //hdl.vxcialistoufjg.com.gov/vxcialistoufjg.com.pnp/cph.3b23125.

These two letters native Alexander Hamilton to his wife, Elizabeth, to be written during the week preceding the duel, v instructions the they have to only be ceded if “I shall an initial have terminated mine earthly career.” The letters explain Hamilton’s factor for participating in the duel and also his determination to keep his spiritual convictions by sparing the life that Aaron Burr.

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Sources consulted:Alexander Hamilton, through Ron ChernowThe Alexander Hamilton Papers, Library of conference Manuscripts Division

14 comment

Missy HawesMay 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm

I can not tell what the letters are saying. Execute you think it is possible to upgrade this web page with the letter tykathy clewellFebruary 20, 2018 at 1:40 am

I also have a tough time reading the letters. They are an amazing item of American history. If a translation of the letter might be typed and available to read- it would certainly be appreciated

Kim LebensDecember 9, 2020 at 1:55 pm

We’ve just seen the streaming version of Hamilton and look forward to seeing it top top stage. Such a breath of new air to watch these documents accessible to the public even throughout a pandemic. Thank you vxcialistoufjg.com for making these a user trusted experience. However, i cannot comment totally on these letter as a whole because the July 10 letter component One connect is identical to part Two. Is over there a transcription of part One? give thanks to you again

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