Talk:John Laurens

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Okay guys Bhaskar here, I think that the article needs more depth, this is kind of an overlooked figure however, the excerpted letter below should NOT be posted, because it implies that it was a short love letter, in the SAME text, Hamilton asked him to look for a wife for him in Carolina and listed chararistics he looked for in a woman. Also i don't like how he said it was a useless skrimish, in hindsight yes it wasnt significant but he went to go intercept the british force in his sector, it was significant given his proximity to the british so he engaged..

After listing his desired qualities in a wife and how he would like to be described to potential love interests, however, Hamilton goes on to say that the entire thing was a joke and that he has no desire to marry. He then goes on to say that he doesn't know why he spent so long on that tangent, and suggests that perhaps it was because he simply wanted to draw out the interaction. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:15, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

In regards to John Laurens being a homosexual, perhaps this excerpt from a letter to him from Alexander Hamilton might shed some insight

The following letter, which will be quoted in pertinent part, was written by Hamilton when he was twenty-two years of age. It was written to his friend colonel John Laurens, who was a few years older than Hamilton. Laurens was the son of the President of the Continental congress, Henry Laurens, the dating of the letter was made by scholars, based on internal evidence: April, 1779:

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 'til 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 of 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 artfully instilled into me.

Intellectual Integrity?

 I for one was surprised when I read the letter from Hamilton to Laurens,

and I was even more surprised that I had never heard of the letter before. This article blithely ignores the letter from Hamilton to Laurens, and attributes the suggestion of homosexuality to the existence of a statue.

I believe the suggestions of homosexuality should be presented in an unbiased manner or left out entirely. I lean towards full disclosure rather than excision of the information.

I believe it is deceptive to imply that the homosexual suggestion is a result of idiots drawing absurd conclusions from a statue. I have noticed selective presentation of facts in other articles on the Wiki; ultimately this damages Wiki's credibility. Users should exercise caution in using the information provided here.

The issue has already been discussed, please see section "Hamilton" on this talk page, and the article in its present text is based on the consensus reached based on WP:NEUTRAL reporting referenced authoritative different opinions on the related speculations. Users can access the correspondence Laurens-Hamilton from the external links provided at the footer of the article and make up their own mind.Isananni (talk) 16:15, 23 August 2017 (UTC)


I'm glad someone added something about the letters to the entry. I had been meaning to do that but, I guess, forgot. Further examination of the letters can be found here, and two of Hamilton's letters to Laurens can be found in the Library of America's Hamilton: Writings. I've not seen the full text of any other letters, though. Excerpts can be found in Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton and James Thomas Flexner's The Young Hamilton. If anyone knows where copies of these letters can be found (especially electronic versions), I'd appreciate it if one would let me know. Erekrose 19:53, 15 January 2006 (UTC)

We should remember, however, that this was an age of sentiment; Hamilton got equally lush letters from his sister-in-law. Septentrionalis 23:35, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

What about Laurens' duel with General Lee??

From Bob P. -- I could be wrong, but didn't Laurens duel with -- and severely wound -- the notorious General Charles Lee in a duel? And if true (it is) wouldn't that be a fact to include, oh I dunno, at the TOP of any article about him???? Instead of OMITTING IT ENTIRELY?? I quote from the Wiki article on Lee:

>>>>>> Colonel John Laurens, an aide to Washington, challenged him to a duel, in which Lee was wounded in the side.<<<<<<<

Just wondering... (talk) 15:15, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I know the initial comment is a little old, but yes --- Laurens was involved in a duel with Charles Lee over some statements Lee made regarding Washington. Hamilton served as Laurens second and there is at least his account of what happened, a narrative written down for an inquest into the incident. I'm still pulling together outside sources, but I'll add this to the article as its relevant to Lee and could have derailed Laurens' involvement with the Revolution.

Roving Ginger (talk) 18:52, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

time to semi-protect?[edit]

Anyone object to me asking for this to be semi-protected? The edit history here is getting silly.—Luis (talk) 23:51, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Blame Lin-Manuel Miranda's fans. (talk) 04:11, 1 March 2016 (UTC)

Can we get this article under protection again? When the last one expired it took all of 30 minutes for the vandalism to start up again. EDIT: I put in a request for semi-protection; crossing my fingers. Roving Ginger (talk) 15:34, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Could somebody change the word "Georgian" in the Legacy section to "Georgia"? Georgian is not correct American usage. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2600:1010:B16A:A4F3:43AD:A925:EB2D:AD8D (talk) 22:13, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

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Article Organization[edit]

I've been watching, editing, and re-reading this article on Laurens for a while, and while I'm glad to see how it's grown, I think it could use some tightening up structurally and additional citations in the section of Laurens' sexuality and relationship to Hamilton. I don't have an opinion either way on the subject, but there are several places that could use scholarly back up. Thoughts? Roving Ginger (talk) 15:04, 28 November 2016 (UTC)


Hello. I'd like to simply state that you marked my comment of the addition of "Alexander Hamilton" as John Laurens' "alleged boyfriend" as vandalism, when there is a significant portion of his article regarding this topic. I did not simply state that he was his boyfriend, and can change it to "rumored" or something along those lines if that is more fitting in your mind, but I feel it inappropriate to mark it as vandalism when it was a significant topic discussed in the article. I understand its a controversial topic, but I don't feel it is vandalism if it is simply restating a topic brought up later in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by A.Burr (talkcontribs) 04:19, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

[The above originally posted on my talk page] Your edits are vandalism because you are inserting material in an infobox that doesn't belong. There is no place on infoboxes for alleged extra-marital sexual relationships or any references to a subject's sexuality. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 13:36, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you Tom, I wholeheartedly agree and I regret that hardly any historian points out that Hamilton and Laurens spent hardly a month together in over three to four years due to Laurens' captivity, his plan to form a black battalion in South Carolina while Hamilton was stationed in the North, his mission to France, etc. All the allegations of a supposed physical extramarital relationship are based on admittedly flowery correspondence that first of all shows the two of them were hardly ever together. For a "heated" relationship, circumstances reduced it to a lame platonic exchange of missives. Maybe the prolonged lack of contiguity hindering any real relationship other than an affinity of minds should at least be mentioned in the article. Just my two pence. Isananni (talk) 17:07, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

  • I've now checked the citations to the Laurens biography by Massey, as well as reading portions not cited here. The Massey biography does not support the previous editor's synthesis. Massey concluded that despite the letters, the Hamilton/Laurens friendship was platonic, and he proceeded to explain the reasoning. No reliable source has been cited that concludes they were gay - the historians only acknowledge that it's in question, as Chernow did. I will edit the section to accurately quote Massey. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 17:52, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Thank you! Some sense at last! Isananni (talk) 17:56, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I just bought the Massey bio but haven't had a chance to dive into yet. Thank you for adding those accurate citations!! Roving Ginger (talk) 18:15, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
  • I'm still on it. I will get the revision written this week. In the meantime, I read through the cited reference Lt Colonel John Laurens by the National Park Service, and I despaired because it summarizes Laurens' life and significance in one web page, and does it far better than this Wikipedia article does. I nearly wish we could copy and paste it whole, in place of this entire article! I won't overdo it, but it's going to get cited a few times more. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 15:05, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I do not think there is any rule about extensively revising an article if it means improving on reliability, neutrality and references. At the moment the article is highly unbalanced due to the overgrowth of the "sexuality issue" since it is a non issue - sexual proclivities one way or another do not add to nor detract from anyone's accomplishments and that is what the article should be about. Honestly, if you think you can improve on the article by revising it with reliable references and possibly reduce the "sexuality" section to a more balanced length and equally balanced and substantiated approach one should only be grateful. I'm not such an expert on Laurens to be able to help, but I can see the issues in the article. Isananni (talk) 16:13, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
@Lwarrenwiki: Hi, I know we are all volunteers here and every day life and work take precedence, but I was wondering if you had the time to work on/have a look at a possible revision of this article. Since I lack the sources you mentioned I only managed to remove some unreferenced assumptions from the sexuality section, which is still heavily unbalanced and far too long, but it would really be great if you could help have this article regain some sort of credibility with some more extended revision. Thank you in advance for what you can do for the community of Wiki readerds. Isananni (talk) 16:08, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, we can't use someone's investigation on Tumblr as a source; we'd need something that passes WP:RS. On the other hand, a lot of the quotes are WP:PRIMARY sources used in a way that seems to be using them for original research; unless it's completely obvious how a particular quote relates to the topic, we would probably need a WP:SECONDARY source. For example, we can cite a biographer saying "look at this racy quote, which may indicate that they were lovers"; we can't do that ourselves or we fall into original research. (I'm a bit cautious about removing them wholesale, though, because several of the article's cites to secondary sources like biographies do mention the sensual language - the important question is whether they refer to the specific ones we have; if so, it should be restructured to make it clear that it's such-and-such a biographer highlighting that quote and not us. If no secondary sources have highlighted a specific quote, it should probably be removed, and possibly replaced with one that we have a specific secondary source talking about.) --Aquillion (talk) 06:47, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
I found it ok to remove my edit on the analysis of the handwriting. The analysis did seem sound, but I agree the referenced source does not pass present WP:RS. I had some doubts about the overuse of primary quotes myself and while the censored sentence does refer to a secondary source quoting the innuendos and makes it clearer for the reader what one is talking about (the nose was used as a reference to the male organ in writing at the time), the previous long quotation from Hamilton's letter should probably fit better in the reference text if we do mot want to lose content alltogether - it was certainly not appropriate at the beginning of this section since it did not relate to any research and was misleadingly placed there to set the tone of the section hinting at so far unproven conclusions, thus breaching the Wikipedia neutrality policy. Isananni (talk) 07:36, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Frankly, there's a great deal more that could and should be removed as OR, synthesis, undue weight, and misleading quotes from primary sources. I believe a consensus has emerged on this. Also, the whole premise of inferring Laurens' sexuality from Hamilton's letters is flawed; it tells us about Hamilton's state of mind, but we have no evidence that Laurens responded positively, and actual evidence (from Laurens' own letters) that Laurens did not reciprocate Hamilton's flowery tone. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 12:10, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
@Lwarrenwiki: Good points. Isananni (talk) 12:12, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
And thank you both for taking up this difficult editorial job, and the ball that I dropped here. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 12:16, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

@Lwarrenwiki: You are welcome, thank you for raising the issues. I removed one further quotation because it was honestly misleading - if the analysis of the handwriting is correct (and I think it is even though the source does not live up to the present WP:RS criteria) it sounds like locker room talk, nothing more compromising than the selfies that my husband's basketball team mates (all of whom are heterosexually married) exchange on their Whatsapp group from said locker room. Furthermore, as you quite rightly put it, it speaks more of Hamilton than of Laurens. I left the mention that Hamilton invited his friend to his wedding but Laurens could not be there because it's historical fact against the fictional representation in the musical show that Laurens attended the event. Feel free to remove it if you think it's the case.Isananni (talk) 12:31, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

@Isananni: Your locker-room analogy is perfect. I reached exactly the same conclusion, based on experience, but I could not cite my own personal experience or gut feeling as any sort of evidence, of course. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 12:44, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 January 2017[edit]

John Laurens in the place to be, often drinking Sam Adams. Those red coats don't want it with him cuz he will popchickapop those cops till he's free. Hamiltrash11 (talk) 22:18, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. —k6ka 🍁 (Talk · Contributions) 22:31, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

Spy category[edit]

The article doesn't support categorizing Laurens as a spy. He hired spies, but there is no indication that he spied on the British himself. Lwarrenwiki (talk) 19:50, 24 June 2017 (UTC)