**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Alexander Hamilton
by [?]

And so this finely organized, receptive, aspiring woman, through the exercise of a will that seemed masculine in its strength, found her feet mired in quicksand. She struggled to free herself, and every effort only sank her deeper. The relentless environment only held her with firmer clutch.

She thirsted for knowledge, for sweet music, for beauty, for sympathy, for attainment. She had a heart-hunger that none about her understood. She strove for better things. She prayed to God, but the heavens were as brass; she cried aloud, and the only answer was the throbbing of her restless heart.

In this condition, a son was born to her. They called his name Alexander Hamilton. This child was heir to all his mother’s splendid ambitions. Her lack of opportunity was his blessing; for the stifled aspirations of her soul charged his being with a strong man’s desires, and all the mother’s silken, unswerving will was woven through his nature. He was to surmount obstacles that she could not overcome, and to tread under his feet difficulties that to her were invincible.

The prayer of her heart was answered, but not in the way she expected. God listened to her after all; for every earnest prayer has its answer, and not a sincere desire of the heart but somewhere will find its gratification.

But earth’s buffets were too severe for the brave young woman; the forces in league against her were more than she could withstand, and before her boy was out of baby dresses she gave up the struggle, and went to her long rest, soothed only by the thought that, although she had sorely blundered, she yet had done her work as best she could.

* * * * *

At his mother’s death, we find Alexander Hamilton taken in charge by certain mystical kinsmen. Evidently he was well cared for, as he grew into a handsome, strong lad–small, to be sure, but finely formed. Where he learned to read, write and cipher we know not; he seems to have had one of those active, alert minds that can acquire knowledge on a barren island.

When nine years old, he signed his name as witness to a deed. The signature is needlessly large and bold, and written with careful schoolboy pains, but the writing shows the same characteristics that mark the thousand and one dispatches which we have, signed at bottom, “G. Washington.”

At twelve years of age, he was clerk in a general store–one of those country stores where everything is kept, from ribbon to whisky. There were other helpers in the store, full grown; but when the proprietor went away for a few days into the interior, the dark, slim youngster took charge of the bookkeeping and the cash; and made such shrewd exchanges of merchandise for produce that when the “Old Man” returned, the lad was rewarded by two pats on the head and a raise in salary of one shilling a week.

About this time, the boy was also showing signs of literary skill by writing sundry poems and “compositions,” and one of his efforts in this line describing a tropical hurricane was published in a London paper.

This opened the eyes of the mystical kinsmen to the fact that they had a genius among them, and the elder Hamilton was importuned for money to send the boy to Boston that he might receive a proper education and come back and own the store and be a magistrate and a great man. No doubt the lad pressed the issue, too, for his ambition had already begun to ferment, as we find him writing to a friend, “I’ll risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station.”

Most great things in America have to take their rise in Boston; so it seems meet that Alexander Hamilton, aged fifteen, a British subject, should first set foot on American soil at Long Wharf, Boston. He took a ferry over to Cambridgeport and walked through the woods three miles to Harvard College. Possibly he did not remain because his training in a bookish way had not been sufficient for him to enter, and possibly he did not like the Puritanic visage of the old professor who greeted him on the threshold of Massachusetts Hall; at any rate, he soon made his way to New Haven. Yale suited him no better, and he took a boat for New York.