the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Should learn from this experience morris advised

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should learn from this experience, Morris advised, sustaining his vision of a larger public interest, all the while dealing on a daily basis “with those vulgar Souls whose narrow optics can see but the little Circle of their selfish concerns.” As it turned out, it was a lesson that came naturally to Hamilton. 33 Like Morris, Hamilton was an immigrant, though his origins were both more impoverished and more obscure. We know he was born out of wedlock in St. Kitts in the Caribbean to Rachel Faucette Lavien, a woman of French extraction. Historians disagree about his date of birth and his paternity. Hamilton claimed he was born in 1757, but several pieces of circumstantial evidence point to 1755. He also claimed that James Hamilton, a luckless Scottish merchant, was his father, though there is reason to believe that a well-to-do merchant in St. Croix named Thomas Stevens, who later took him in, was his real father. His early childhood was a grim catalog of disasters surrounded by broken, embittered people, topped off in 1768 when his mother came down with a mysterious fever, which Hamilton promptly caught. They lay in bed together, treated with the barbarous bloodletting and heavy laxatives that were the medical science of the day, until Rachel died next to him soaked in her own blood, vomit, and urine. Any attempt to imagine the young Hamilton of that horrific moment as a prominent statesman in a land he had never seen defies credibility. 34 He was rescued from tropical obscurity by a combination of sheer talent, boundless ambition, and a series of powerful benefactors who all came to regard him as a prodigy. The talent was first put on display while he was working for the St. Croix shipping business of Beekman and Cruger, where he
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dazzled his employers with his deftness at manipulating account books and his conspicuous competence as a thirteen-year-old clerk. His ambition appears in the first surviving letter in his correspondence, which ends, “I wish there was a war.” The benefactor was Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister of Scottish origins with American contacts, who recognized special qualities in the young man. These became visible in public circles for the first time in an especially dramatic account Hamilton wrote of a recent hurricane, which became a local sensation for its verbal flair. Other St. Croix merchants helped subsidize his passage to Boston, and once released from his Caribbean origins, he never looked back. It was a perfect match. The prodigy had come to the land of opportunity. 35 Hamilton was supposed to attend the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), but the interview with President John Witherspoon did not go well because Hamilton, ever audacious, insisted on completing his degree at his own pace, preferably within a year, which Witherspoon rejected as ridiculous. King’s College (now Columbia) accepted him without stipulation, a fateful decision that placed him in New York, where his education would benefit from the presence of a burgeoning mercantile elite and a
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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