11.25.1817: “this last establishment [what would become the University of Virginia] will probably be within a mile of Charlottesville, and four from Monticello, if the system should be adopted at all by our legislature who meet within a week from this time. my hopes however are kept in check by the ordinary character of our state legislatures, the members of which do not generally possess information enough to percieve the important truths, that knolege is power, that knolege is safety, and that knolege is happiness.” —to George Ticknor
The M/S copy of the letter may be read at The Library of Congress, here:
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The obligation upon the United States to afford adequate protection to the inhabitants of the frontiers, is no doubt of the highest and most sacred kind. But there is a duty no less strong upon those inhabitants to avoid giving occasion to hostilities, by an irregular and improper conduct and upon the local Governments sincerely and effectually to punish and repress instances of such conduct, and the spirit which produces them. If these inhabitants can with impunity thwart all the measures of the United States for restoring or preserving peace—if they can with impunity commit depredations, and outrages upon the Indians, and that in violation of the faith of the United States, pledged not only in their general treaties, but even in the special (and among all Nations peculiarly sacred) case of a safe conduct, as in the instance of the attack upon the Indians while encamped within our protection on the tenth of May last.
Can it be surprising if such circumstances should abate the alacrity of the national Councils to encounter those heavy expences, which the protection of the frontiers occasions, and of the readiness of the Citizens of the United States, distant from the scenes of danger to acquiesce in the burdens they produce?
It is not meant by these remarks to diminish the force of the excuse, within due limits, which is drawn from the conduct of the Indians, towards the frontier inhabitants. It cannot be denied that frequent and great provocations to a spirit of animosity and revenge are given by them; but a candid and impartial survey of the events which have from time to time occurred, can leave no doubt that injuries and provocations have been too far mutual—that there is much to blame in the conduct of the frontier inhabitants, as well as in that of the Indians. And the result of a full examination must be, that unless means to restrain, by punishing the violences which those inhabitants are in the habit of perpetrating against the Indians, can be put in execution, all endeavours to preserve peace with them, must be for ever frustrated."
Alexander Hamilton to George Mathews, September 25, 1794
Frontier squatters in Georgia had tried to make an independent country on territory belonging to the Creek Nation. By this point, the Federalists were becoming 1000% done with frontiersmen and the states that allowed them to act like this.
The Dr. I find is a very learned Man. He said that the Roman Empire came to its Destruction as soon as the People got set against the Nobles and Commons as they are now in England, and they went on Quarrelling, till one Brutus carried all before him and enslaved em all.—Caesar, you mean Dr.—No I think it was Brutus, want it?—Thus We see the Dr. is very Book learnt.
And when we were drinking Tea, I said, 500 Years hence there would be a great Number of Empires in America, independent of Europe and of each other.—Oh says he I have no Idea that the World will stand so long—not half 500 Years. The World is to conform to the Jewish Calculations, every seventh day was to be a day of Rest, every 7th Year was to be a Jubilee, and the 7th. Thousand Years will be a Thousand Years of Rest and Jubilee—no Wars, no fightings, and there is but about 230 wanting to compleat the 6000 Years. Till that Time, there will be more furious Warrs than ever.
Thus I find I shall have in the Dr. a fund of Entertainment. He is superficial enough, and conceited enough, and enthusiastical enough to entertain."
June 5th, 1771
I could read his diary forever.
Here it may be proper to recollect something which makes an Article of great importance in the Life of every Man. I was of an amorous disposition and very early from ten or eleven Years of Age, was very fond of the Society of females. I had my favorites among the young Women and spent many of my Evenings in their Company and this disposition although controlled for seven Years after my Entrance into College returned and engaged me too much till I was married.
I shall draw no Characters nor give any enumeration of my youthfull flames. It would be considered as no compliment to the dead or the living: This I will say—they were all modest and virtuous Girls and always maintained this Character through Life. No Virgin or Matron ever had cause to blush at the sight of me, or to regret her Acquaintance with me. No Father, Brother, Son or Friend ever had cause of Grief or Resentment for any Intercourse between me and any Daughter, Sister, Mother, or any other Relation of the female Sex. My Children may be assured that no illegitimate Brother or Sister exists or ever existed. These Reflections, to me consolatory beyond all expression, I am able to make with truth and sincerity and I presume I am indebted for this blessing to my Education.
My Parents held every Species of Libertinage in such Contempt and horror, and held up constantly to view such pictures of disgrace, of baseness and of Ruin, that my natural temperament was always overawed by my Principles and Sense of decorum. This Blessing has been rendered the more prescious to me, as I have seen enough of the Effects of a different practice. Corroding Reflections through Life are the never failing consequence of illicit amours, in old as well as in new Countries. The Happiness of Life depends more upon Innocence in this respect, than upon all the Philosophy of Epicurus, or of Zeno without it. I could write Romances, or Histories as wonderfull as Romances of what I have known or heard in France, Holland and England, and all would serve to confirm what I learned in my Youth in America, that Happiness is lost forever if Innocence is lost, at least untill a Repentance is undergone so severe as to be an overballance to all the gratifications of Licentiousness. Repentance itself cannot restore the Happiness of Innocence, at least in this Life.
John Adams takes time out of his autobiography to lecture on the dangers of ‘libertinage’.
Deadbishop’s post had me think. There’s now two accounts from Hamilton’s sons that suggest he told them he got his smarts from his mother:
Alexander, Jr.: “My father was born on the island of Nevis, in the West Indies, of a Scotch father and a French mother. From the latter be inherited the financial talent that he afterward displayed in the office of Secretary of the Treasury.”
John: “His mother died when he was a child; but the traces of her character remained vividly impressed upon his memory. He recollected her with inexpressible fondness, and often spoke of her as a woman of superior intellect, highly cultivated, of elevated and generous sentiments, and of unusual elegance of person and manner.”
So it seems odd to me that so many (usually male) historians keep insisting Hamilton had harbored some secret deep grudge against his mother simply because she’s not mentioned in his surviving letters.
You know, you’re right. o_o;
I mean, I know that recollections from children can be sugar-coated, but this certainly qualifies as evidence. John’s description of her makes her sound like…well…Alexander Hamilton.
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