American founding father Alexander Hamilton left a lasting mark on history and is now known as one of the most influential American politicians, lawyers, writers, and soldiers. The bastard orphan was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1757, and was raised on the island of St. Croix until he was sent to New York City at the age of 15 to pursue a proper education. After attending King’s College, Hamilton moved his way up the ranks and spent four years as George Washington’s attaché; he also participated in several battles in the American Revolution, including the Battle of Monmouth (’78), and the Battle of Yorktown (’81). Upon marrying Eliza Schuyler, Hamilton served as one of the most prominent lawyers in New York; he also contributed 51 essays to The Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton died at the young age of 47 after a duel with his colleague; specifically, Aaron Burr shot him between the ribs, killing him.
In addition to his widely-known and marriage-shattering affair with Mariah Reynolds, Alexander Hamilton was also said to have had an amorous relationship with aristocratic southerner John Laurens, whom he worked alongside. While some believe there was nothing more than friendship between the two men, letters between them sent over Hamilton’s lifetime suggest otherwise.
Many of the letters sent to Laurens covered topics such as Hamilton’s need for a wife, despite not wanting one, or Hamilton’s later marriage to bachelor Elizabeth Schuyler, whom he explained his feelings towards in these letters. Apart from this, Hamilton also made very forward advances on Laurens in these letters. In a letter sent to Laurens in April of 1779, he wrote “I wish, my Dear Laurens, it were in my power, by actions rather than words, to convince you that I love you”. By just the opening of a single letter, it becomes evident that Hamilton refers to Laurens as ‘my Dear’, which is not something that would be written to a platonic friend. There is no need to attempt to decipher Alexander’s message in that – he was simply telling Laurens he loved him.
In a later passage of the letter, Hamilton wrote “It will be necessary for you to give [the potential candidates for my wife] an account of the lover – his size, make, quality of mind and body, achievements, expectations, fortune, &c[ect]. In drawing my picture, you will no doubt be civil to your friend; mind you do justice to the length of my nose”. While these few sentences seem to direct Laurens to find Hamilton a wife, you cannot help but read between the lines. Because two men in a sexual relationship was illegal in the 18th century, Hamilton and Laurens would have found it necessary to hide their relationship. Hamilton’s comment that Laurens already knew his size, make, and body implies they were more involved than some noticed. The comment made by Hamilton that Laurens knows the size of his nose is clearly a sexual innuendo.
Later letters, and specifically one dated September of 1780, reads “In spite of Schuyler’s black eyes, I have still a part for the public and another for you”. This, if not clearer than before, explains that Hamilton did see Laurens as more than a friend; he is quite clearly elaborating on the fact that he has a part of his heart for the public and his relationship with Eliza Schuyler and another part of his heart privately kept for Laurens. Hamilton later states in this letter that “I would invite you after the fall to Albany to be witness to the final consummation”. This simple sentence may be overlooked by some readers; but in truth, this sentence is one of the clearest statements that would lead one to believe Laurens and Hamilton were involved. This sentence seems to suggest Hamilton is inviting Laurens to bed with him and his wife.
Hamilton states “My Mistress is a good girl, and already loved you because I have told her you are a clever fellow and my friend; but mind, she loves you a l’americaine not a la françoise”. This part of the letter indicates that Hamilton is aware that his wife would see Laurens in ‘the American manner’ and not in ‘the French manner’. In other words, Hamilton was conveying to Laurens that his wife would love him as a friend, but not as a lover. All in all, Hamilton is stating that, as much as he would like for Laurens to join him and his wife in bed, his wife does not see him like Hamilton does, and it would not work out.
The history books remember Alexander Hamilton as the man on the ten-dollar bill and a key player in American history. However, his personal life adds a new dimension to his character that makes him ever more interesting.