The back story to this is that Hamilton had been accused of wanting to overthrow the Congress by force. He traced the source of the rumor to Reverend William Gordon. When Hamilton demanded he divulge the name of his informant as proof, Gordon refused unless he would promise not to meet him on the dueling field. Then he proceeded to patronize Hamilton (“I am convinced you will think with me, when you have been more conversant with the world and read mankind more.”) which insured Hamilton would never promise not to duel him. So Gordon instead appealed to General Washington directly:
“The last week I was designing to send You a friendly letter, without introducing into it any of my own concerns: but Col. Henly calling upon me on the saturday afternoon, with a most extraordinary letter from Col. Hamilton hath reduced me to the necessity of altering my plan. In some stations moral character is of little importance, but mine is next to All; & like female honour must be defended at all adventures. I have submitted to the trouble of transcribing all that hath passed between the Colonel & myself, which I shall enclose. I must make some remarks upon his last letter, but shall not be bitter in my expressions, as I would not add to the pain, I apprehend, your Excellency will feel upon the perusal of it. If in the body of the letter he alludes to any matters I have said or wrote, with a view of informing gentlemen, in particular departments, of facts or reports that they should not be strangers to, he shews himself to have been unworthy of that confidence, which was put in him when entrusted therewith.”
- Reverend William Gordon to George Washington, March 1, 1780
Washington told Gordon to produce evidence for a court-martial or back down:
“While I must ascribe it to your politeness, I regret that the consideration of Colo. Hamilton’s being a member of my family should have been a motive for bringing so disagreeable a business before me. The Gentlemen attached to me are upon the same footing with the other officers of the Army, and equally responsible for their conduct. You will pursue such a mode in the present case as you deem most effectual, but if you should think proper to exhibit any charge against Colo. Hamilton cognizable by a military tribunal, you have only to signify your wish and the time you will be able to produce your witness, and I shall proceed in it accordingly.”
- George Washington to William Gordon, May 3, 1780
Gordon produced no evidence or witness, so the matter disappeared.
I am convinced, that no officer can with justice dispute your merit and abilities. The opposition heretofore made has not been for the want of those qualifications in the gentlemen, who are and have been the objects of discontent. The officers of the line contend, without having reference to particular persons, that it is a hardship and reflection upon them to introduce brevet officers into commands, (of some permanency), in which there are more opportunities of distinguishing themselves, than in the line of the army at large, and with the men they have had the trouble to discipline and prepare for the field.
My principal concern arises from an apprehension, that you will impute my refusal of your request to other motives, than those I have expressed; but I beg you to be assured I am only influenced by the reasons which I have mentioned.
George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, April 27, 1781.
After the quarrel that resulted in Hamilton temporarily leaving Washington’s patronage, he began to badger the general for a field command. Washington of course couldn’t pass over senior officers, but felt he had to reassure it wasn’t because of their fight.
Phrases I never thought I’d type into google: “George Washington doing a kegstand”
Phrases I never thought existed: Google, kegstand
Five years ago, my mom’s seventh grade American History class decided it would be a great idea if she and the General got together.
They wrote love letters on the chalkboard. They left tea-stained letters on her desk.
Soon enough, Joan and George were engaged.
Of course, George had to break off the engagement at one point, because what great romance doesn’t have its moment of trepidation?
Then George realized he’d been a fool, and asked her to take him back. She accepted.
The class threw them a wedding, complete with cake.
Five years ago today, my mom’s seventh graders got to act out their shipping fanfiction and their OTP wed before their eyes.
For anyone who had crappy history teachers and mothers, you can borrow mine anytime.
Please raise your glass with me as we toast the happy couple!
(I may or may not have sent flowers to school and signed it from George)
awwww! This is the best!