“You are certainly a little sorceress
and have bewitched me”
In the middle of their whirlwind courtship, Hamilton emphasizes his profound fascination with Eliza Schuyler. Hamilton both complains that she is distracting him from important military duties, while pleading with her for more distraction. Few of Hamilton’s letters to Eliza survive from this period.
As Hamilton was writing, tactical intelligence was being communicated at a frantic pace up and down the Hudson. On July 21, Washington had received intelligence from the Culper spy ring on British General Clinton’s planned attack on Rochambeau’s French squadron at Newport, and the massing of British troops on Long Island for an intensified invasion of New York. Hamilton now was in the middle of authoring a detailed “Plan for an Attack on New York” to recapture Manhattan and Brooklyn from the British. He mentions at the end of this letter his position at Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small town on the Hudson where the army was encamped. Hamilton ends when he is summoned by General Washington.
Immediately after dinner, I stole from a crowd of company to a solitary walk to be at leisure to think of you, and I have just returned to tell you by an express this moment going off that I have been doing so. You are certainly a little sorceress and have bewitched me, for you have made me disrelish every thing that used to please me, and have rendered me as restless and unsatisfied with all about me, as if I was the inhabitant of another world, and had nothing in common with this. I must in spite of myself become an inconstant to detach myself from you, for as it now stands I love you more than I ought—more than is consistent with my peace. A new mistress is supposed to be the best cure for an excessive attachment to an old— if I was convinced of the success of the scheme, I would be tempted to try it— for though it is the pride <2> of my heart to love you it is the torment of it to love you so much, separated as we now are. But I am afraid, I should only go in quest of disquiet, that would make me return to you with redoubled tenderness. You gain by every comparison I make and the more I contrast you with others the more amiable you appear. But why do you not write to me oftener? It is again an age since I have heard from you. I write you at least three letters for your one, though I am immersed in public business and you have nothing to do but to think of me. When I come to Albany, I shall find means to take satisfaction for your neglect. You recollect the mode I threatened to punish you in for all your delinquen[c]ies.
I wrote you a long letter by your father. I suppose you will wait his return before you write. If <3> you do I shall chide you severely and if you do not write me a very long and fond one by him, I shall not forgive you at all. I have written you a short letter since that.
We are now at Dobbes ferry.
I would go on but the General summons me to ride. Adieu My Dear lovely amiable girl. Heaven preserve you and shower its choicest blessings upon you. Love me I conjure you.
<4> [Docketing:] Aug 8th / Dobbs Ferry
[Partial Address:] Schuyler / Albany