Hello! I was introduced to Lams by a friend and she directed me to you for more information of the reasons "why they were totally a couple and a pretty awesome one". Could you fill me in with all your knowledge? :)
I can absolutely tell you everything I know (or at least everything I can think of at this moment) about the Hamilton/Laurens relationship.
So I guess I should start with a bit of a discussion about their probable sexualities.
Laurens? Probably gay (though I would accept arguments for bisexual/homoromantic/etc.). When he was about to turn thirteen, his father wrote the following in a letter to a friend:
Master Jack is too closely wedded to his studies to think about any of the Miss Nanny’s I would not have such a sound in his Ear, for a Crown; why drive the poor Dog, to what Nature will irresistably prompt him to be plagued with in all probability much too soon.
Translation: My teenaged son pays no attention to girls whatsoever. On top of that, John never formed any strong relationships with women (outside of the brotherly/paternal relationships he had with his younger sisters). John did get Martha Manning pregnant, but who really knows what went down in the bedroom that night. He married her, as he wrote to his uncle, out of pity for her situation.
Hamilton? Totally bisexual. I don’t think I really need to explain how much Hamilton loved the ladies. But did you know that he was also into dudes? Have some excerpts from some of his letters to Laurens:
Cold in my professions, warm in my friendships, I wish, my Dear Laurens, it might be in my power, by action rather than words, to convince you that I love you. I shall only tell you that ’till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you. Indeed, my friend, it was not well done. You know the opinion I entertain of mankind, and how much it is my desire to preserve myself free from particular attachments, and to keep my happiness independent on the caprice of others. You should not have taken advantage of my sensibility to steal into my affections without my consent. But as you have done it and as we are generally indulgent to those we love, I shall not scruple to pardon the fraud you have committed, on condition that for my sake, if not for your own, you will always continue to merit the partiality, which you have so artfully instilled into me.
It was common back then for men to use emotional, affectionate language when writing to their male friends, but this, in my opinion, goes beyond just platonic love. Here’s another excerpt from the same letter:
If you should not readily meet with a lady that you think answers my description you can only advertise in the public papers and doubtless you will hear of many competitors for most of the qualifications required, who will be glad to become candidates for such a prize as I am. To excite their emulation, it will be necessary for you to give an account of the lover—his size, make, quality of mind and body, achievements, expectations, fortune, &c. In drawing my picture, you will no doubt be civil to your friend; mind you do justice to the length of my nose and don’t forget, that I <– – – – –>.
Those five dashes at the end represent the five words that were scratched out by an editor. Said editor also wrote “I must not publish the whole of this” at the top of the page. Have fun imagining what Hamilton wrote that was so sexual, so beyond the bounds of propriety that it had to be permanently deleted from the letter. And finally, here’s a passage that Hamilton wrote to Laurens about Hamilton’s upcoming marriage:
In spite of Schuylers black eyes, I have still a part for the public and another for you; so your impatience to have me married is misplaced; a strange cure by the way, as if after matrimony I was to be less devoted than I am now. Let me tell you, that I intend to restore the empire of Hymen and that Cupid is to be his prime Minister. I wish you were at liberty to transgress the bounds of Pensylvania. I would invite you after the fall to Albany to be witness to the final consummation. My Mistress is a good girl, and already loves 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.
Two things to note here. 1) Laurens hoped marriage might cure Hamilton and himself of certain feelings they had for each other. 2) Hamilton basically just invited Laurens to a threesome on his wedding night.
- Wrote some of Washington’s dispatches together
- Sent and received some of their personal correspondence together
- Shared a bedroom at Valley Forge
- When Laurens was in South Carolina, Hamilton asked Washington for a position in the South as well (and Hamilton went into one of his I-hate-everything-in-this-world-except-Laurens moods after Washington denied his request)
- When Laurens was in South Carolina, he wrote to Hamilton about how he was struggling “between duty and inclination” and how much his heart was with Hamilton
- When Laurens was a POW, Hamilton did just about everything he could to convince Washington to have him exchanged/released
- When Laurens was a POW, Hamilton visited Laurens on/near Laurens’s
birthday, and the two also (very likely) got their portraits done
together (on a different date)
- Hamilton was Laurens’s second for his duel with Lee (also their combined sass at Lee’s court-martial is the best)
- When Laurens was selected by Congress to serve as an envoy to France, he suggested Hamilton be the envoy instead
- Frequently mentioned as being together when other officers discussed their actions
- Laurens referred to his wife as “dear girl” and referred to Hamilton as “dear boy” and never used these terms of endearment for anyone else (so he referred to Hamilton with the male equivalent of a term of endearment that he used to express his love for his wife)
- Laurens never told Hamilton about his wife and child - Hamilton happened
to find out by reading a letter to Laurens, about 1.5 years after they
- Hamilton was the most fervent supporter of Laurens’s black regiment
The months surrounding Laurens’s death also reveal Hamilton’s and Laurens’s love for each other. I made a more in-depth post about this, but the main takeaway from that is how they signed their letters to each other. Laurens signed his last letter to Hamilton as, “Adieu, my dear friend; while circumstances place so great a distance between us, I entreat you not to withdraw the consolation of your letters. You know the unalterable sentiments of your affectionate Laurens.” This is by far the most affectionate closing Laurens ever used in any of his letters (the majority of his other closings were simply “Adieu” or “Your obedient servant”). Hamilton signed his last letter to Laurens with, “Yrs for ever.” Hamilton only used this closing with one other person – his wife Elizabeth. And I made another post where I discussed how Hamilton only wrote a few lines about Laurens’s death. This shows that he was so emotionally devastated by that loss that he could not come up with the words to express his feelings (and that’s really saying something, because Hamilton basically never stopped writing).
Finally, here’s a link to all of their correspondence if you would like to read through that.
So that’s the best explanation I can give you. I hope this all makes sense.