“The Christmas holidays are near at hand” (Hamilton 49)

In which Hamilton discusses holiday plans with his son.

The following letter is from Alexander Hamilton to his son 9-year-old son Philip, who was at school in Trenton. Hamilton was at this time in Philadelphia, serving as secretary of the Treasury. His Report on the Subject of Manufactures is signed with the same date as this letter, December 5, 1791.

This is a bit shorter.

Philadelphia December 5, 1791

I received with great pleasure My Dear Philip the letter which you wrote me last week. Your Mama and myself were very happy to learn that you are pleased with your situation and content to stay as long as shall be thought for your good. We hope and believe that nothing will happen to alter this disposition.

Your Master also informs me that you recited a lesson the first day you began, very much to his satisfaction. I expect every letter from him will give me a fresh proof of your progress. For I know that you can do a great deal, if you please, and I am sure you have too much spirit not to exert yourself, that you may make us every day more and more proud of you.

Your Mama has got an Ovid for you and is looking up your Mairs introduction. If it cannot be found tomorrow another will be procured and the books with the other articles she promised to send you will be forwarded in two or three days.

You remember that I engaged to send for you next Saturday and I will do it, unless you request me to put it off. For a promise must never be broken; and I never will make you one, which I will not fulfil as far as I am able. But it has occurred to me that the Christmas holidays are near at hand, and I suppose your school will then break up for some days and give you an opportunity of coming to stay with us for a longer time than if you should come on Saturday. Will it not be best for you, therefore, to put off your journey till the holidays? But determine as you like best and let me know what will be most pleasing to you.

A good night to my darling son.   Adieu

A Hamilton (More here)


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About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, From Portraits to Puddles, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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