Friday, May 5, 2006
January 4, 1804
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
It is with considerable consternation that I compose this letter, given our shared history as allies and partners in Revolution. It has been brought to my attention by one Cotton Fitzpatrick that you have recently insulted in me in a public space. In turn, I have chosen to confront you with this letter to allow you the opportunity to deny its contents. First, an account of the insults: According to Fitzpatrick, you referred to me last year at the Society of the Cincinnati as “a miserable piece of shit,” “a powermonger whose diminutive wit is matched only by his disgracefully small penis,” and most offensively, as “Mrs. Burr.” Upon hearing of this diatribe, I insisted that these invectives were surely attributable to a less distinguished man, but Fitzpatrick supplied me with various newspaper accounts of your lecture, in which you apparently swore, “If I ever see Mr. Burr in public, I will tie him to a post and let my dog ravage him, if the beast can brave the stench.” Again, I am reserving judgment until I receive either a confirmation or a denial from you personally, as these words may have been taken out of context. In light of our friendship, I earnestly expect the latter.
* * *
January 14, 1804
Mr. VICE President,
I assure you that I am in no position to confirm my having uttered the insults to which my name has been affixed. As you must know, I am great, and as a result, I am called upon frequently to give numerous lectures on a wide variety of subjects. I can not possibly be expected to remember every insult therein, especially those questioning your shriveled manhood. To probe my memory for such statements would be akin to asking President Washington—my best friend, by the way—to remember the name of every woman with whom he has “crossed the Delaware.” My respect for you is not be questioned, Mrs. Burr, but I worry that you are engaged in a thoroughly futile exercise given my sterling—and wholly accurate—reputation. Does this episode not remind you of the time when we were drafting the Federalist Papers and James Madison was telling us about how Dolly would arch her back and—alas, I have forgotten that you were not present among us during those formative years. If my memory serves, at that time you were serving as Postmaster General in Westchester County, or some shit like that.
Alexander “The Real Deal” Hamilton
* * *
January 24, 1804
I have thrice read your letter, and I have thrice reached a singular conclusion. It appears that you are not going to apologize for calling me “a gaping vagina” in front of our peers. In my infinite patience, I have chosen to give you one more opportunity to apologize, lest I will be forced to demand satisfaction. For the sake of my reputation, I can no longer ignore a man who refers to my wife as “the Union’s first and least respected prostitute.” I assure you that, if you do choose to subscribe to the code duello, I am equal to the task. And I swear that only one of us will leave those hallowed grounds alive. That is, unless we both miss, in which case maybe we could grab a bite.
* * *
February 1, 1804
I received your letter this morning and—having wiped my ass with it—I, too, have reached a conclusion. You, Mr. Burr, are a gay. I only regret that in your recollection of my speech you failed to recall my most flippant turn of phrase, in which I referred to you as “the nation’s closest ally to Mr. Jefferson’s balls.” The audience responded most favorably, I must say. In fact, Edmund Randolph literally urinated all over himself and those around him (which incidentally caused a mild epidemic of typhoid fever).
In any event, I must caution against challenging me to a duel. If you have studied your American history—which I suppose is not a difficult undertaking—you surely know that I am the primary architect of our considerable Navy, which now boasts three or four boats.
* * *
February 14, 1804
You have passed on four opportunities to settle our dispute peacefully. I must now demand that you agree to meet me in Weehawken, New Jersey for a duel of the first order. (I know this is totally inconvenient for you; I tried to reserve a spot in Manhattan, but my reputation is so poor in New York that they will not even let me make a reservation to die there. Maybe you could put in a good word for me?)
I assure you that I had no preconception when I began this correspondence that it would potentially end in death for one of our most important patriots (or for me). But so it is, and so it must be.