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Accounts of the Duel

Summary of Conversation
by Bishop Benjamin Moore

Protestant Episcopal Bishop Benjamin Moore administered communion to Alexander Hamilton prior to his death. He summarized their conversation.

Yesterday morning, immediately after he was brought from Hoboken [New Jersey]…a message was sent informing me of the sad event, accompanied by a request from General Hamilton, that I would come to him for the purpose of administering the holy communion…. I observed to him…that however desirous I might be to afford consolation to a fellow mortal in distress; still, it was my duty as a minister of the gospel, to hold up the law of God as paramount to all other law; and that, therefore, under the influence of such sentiments, I must unequivocally condemn the practice which had brought him to his present unhappy condition. He acknowledged the propriety of these sentiments, and declared that he viewed the late transaction with sorrow and contrition. I then asked him, “Should it please God, to restore you to health, Sir, will you never be again engaged in a similar transaction? And will you employ all your influence in society to discountenance this barbarous custom?” His answer was, “That, Sir, is my deliberate intention.”

I proceeded to converse with him on the subject of his receiving the Communion…. [The bishop asked “]Are you disposed to live in love and charity with all men?” He lifted up his hands and said, “With the utmost sincerity of heart I can answer those questions in the affirmative—have no ill will against Col. Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm – I forgive all that happened.”

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