Today's Featured Biography
The parentage of Alexander Hamilton is given by his son and biographer as of mingled Scottish and French ancestry--Scottish on the father's side, Huguenot on the mother's. Students of the doctrine of temperaments may find something to ponder over in such a fusion under the genial ray of the southern sun. Given the key, they may unlock with it many cabinets in the idiosyncrasy of the future Hamilton; Scottish perseverance and integrity, French honor and susceptibility, tropical fervor. Be that as it may, Alexander Hamilton first saw the light in the West India island, St. Christopher, January 11, 1757. His father was a trader or captain, sailing between the islands of the archipelago, whose business brought him into relation with Nicholas Cruger, a wealthy merchant of Santa Cruz, in intimate relation with New York, in whose counting-house the son was placed at the age of twelve. He was a boy of quick intellect, in advance of his years, and had already made much of limited opportunities of instruction, as we may learn from an exceedingly well-penned epistle, addressed thus early to a school-fellow who had found his way to New York. In this remarkable letter, the boy seems to have written with prophetic instinct. "To confess my weakness, Ned," he says, "my ambition is prevalent, so that I contemn the grovelling condition of a clerk or the like, to which my fortune condemns me, and would willingly risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station.... I mea...
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