Holly, Eliza Hamilton
Autograph Letter Signed, with initials, E. H. H., [Washington, D.C.], Sunday morning, June 29, [1846], to an unidentified recipient - on John C. Calhoun

octavo, three pages, docketed on last blank leaf, “Mrs. Holly Washington June 29th, 1846…”, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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Alexander Hamilton’s daughter, Eliza, prominent Washington socialite, widowed four years earlier, laments her “lonely old age” (she was 47) but admits with perfunctory “humility” that “I have not been left unnoticed by the serious of this favored spot.” She had given copies of her correspondent’s “Egyptian Tables” to several Senators, including her friend Thomas Corwin of Ohio, James Pearce of Maryland, “one of the best educated and most accomplished men in the Senate” – and the famed John Calhoun, with whom she had spent a “pleasant evening” at his home: “… With him I had conversations on various topics, but on none did he shine as the preeminently intellectual man. He is not diffident, he speaks freely, yet seems not satisfied with his own judgement, for by constant appeal to yours he expresses an anxiety foreign to a mind that is convinced of its own powers. To my presumptuous conceit I think he is a man whose mind compasses the path he has made a little circuitously about as well as any mind that has loved self as well as his country. I presume to think he might be taken unawares on many subjects that minds less celebrated would intuitively better comprehend. I do not believe him an original thinker not much more than a practiced politician. One thing, however, he is a christian and in social life bears an unspotted character as a loving husband, kind father, an agreeable and true friend. His wife is an amiable little body without much sense. I spent a pleasant evening…”


       We have been unable to identify the recipient of the letter. It was obviously a close friend of Mrs. Holly’s, to whom she could write so personally and frankly, and probably a fellow Whig in politics. But I could not identify a book published in the United States in the 1840s with the words “Egyptian” and “Tables” in the title.