October 17, 1772
AH! whither, whither am I flown,
A wandering guest in worlds unknown?
What is that I see and hear?
What heav'nly music fills mine ear?
Etherial glories shine around;
More than Arabias sweets abound.
Hark! hark! a voice from yonder sky!
Methinks I hear my Saviour cry,
Come gentle spirit come away,
Com to thy Lord without delay;
For thee the gates of bliss unbar'd
Thy consant virtue to reward.
I come oh Lord! I mount, I fly,
On rapid wings I cleave the sky;
Stretch out thine arm and aid my flight;
For oh! I long to gain that height,
Where all celestial beings sing
Eternal praises to their King.
O Lamb of God! thrice gracious Lord
Now, now I feel how true thy word;
Translated to this happy place,
This blessed vision of thy face;
My soul shall all thy steps attend
In songs of triumph without end.
"Although it is impossible to determine beyond dispute that Hamilton was the author of this poem, it is attributed to him by J. C. Hamilton (John Church Hamilton, a son of Alexander Hamilton), who refers to it as 'a hymn,' but ascribes it to the period when Hamilton attended school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey (The Life of Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton, J.C., vol. I, 10 and The Works of Alexander Hamilton, editor Hamilton, J.C., vol. I, 48). In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, there is a copy of an unidentified writing of the first three verses of this poem. At the end of the third verse is written in the same hand: "Written by A.H. when 18 years old." At the bottom of the page in still another handwriting is written: "This is a copy in pencil by Alex: Hamilton, my uncle – P.S." The "P.S" presumably refers to the Philip Schuyler who was the son of George L. Schuyler. George L. Schuyler had married Hamilton's granddaughter, Mary Hamilton, daughter of James A. Hamilton. The Alexander Hamilton who copied the poem was probably the son of James A. Hamilton, brother-in-law of George Schuyler and uncle of Philip Schuyler." --from The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, volume 1
Thursday, June 28, 2007
October 17, 1772
September 6, 1772
I take up my pen just to give you an imperfect account of one of the mast dreadful Hurricanes that memory or any records whatever can trace, which happened here on the 31st ultimo at night. It began about dusk, at North, and raged very violently till ten o'clock. Then ensued a sudden and unexpected interval, which lasted about an hour. Meanwhile the wind was shifted round to the South West point, from whence it returned with redoubled fury and continued so 'till near three o'clock in the morning. Good God! what horror and destruction. Its impossible for me to describe or you to form any idea of it. It seemed as if a total dissolution of nature was taking place. The roaring of the sea and wind, fiery meteors flying about it in the air, the prodigious glare of almost perpetual lighting, the crash of falling houses, and the ear-piercing shrieks of the distressed, were sufficient to strike astonishment into Angels. A great part of the buildings throughout the Island are levelled to the ground, almost all the rest very much shattered; several persons killed and numbers utterly ruined; whole families running about the streets, unknowing where to find a place of shelter; the sick exposed to the keeness of water and air without a bed to lie upon, or a dry covering to their bodies; and our harbors entirely bare. In a word, misery, in all its most hideous shapes, spread over the whole face of the country. A strong smell of gunpowder added somewhat to the terrors of the night; and it was observed that the rain was surprisingly salt. Indeed the water is so brackish and full of sulphur that there is hardly any drinking it.
My reflections on this frightful and melancholy occasion are set forth in the following self-discourse.
Where now, oh! vile worm, is all thy boasted fortitude and resolution? What is become of thine[(original reads "they")] arrogance and self sufficiency? Why dost thou tremble and stand aghast? How humble, how helpless, how contemptable you now appear. And for why? The jarring of elemants – the discord of clouds? Oh! impotent and presumptuous fool! how durst thou offend that Omnipotence, whose nod alone were sufficient to quell the destruction that hovers thee, or crush thee into atoms? See thy wretched and helpless state, and learn to know thyself. Learn to know thy best support. Despise[(original reads "despite")] thyself, and adore thy God. How sweet, how unutterably sweet were now the voice of an approving conscience; Then couldst thou say, hence ye idle alarms, why do I shrink? What have I to fear? A pleasing calm suspense! A short repose from calamity to end in eternal bliss? Let the Earth rend. Let the planets forsake their course. Let the Sun be extinguished and the Heavens burst asunder. Yet what have I to dread? My staff can never be broken – in Omnip[o]tence I trusted.
He who gave the winds to blow, and the lightnings to rage – even him I have always loved and served. His precepts I have observed. His commandments I have obeyed – and his perfections have I adored. He will snatch me from ruin. He will exalt me to the fellowship of Angels and Seraphs, and to the fullness of never ending joys.
But alas! how different, how deplorable, how gloomy the prospect! Death comes rushing on in triumph veiled in a mantle of tenfold darkness. His unrelenting scythe, pointed, and ready for the stroke. On his right hand sits destruction, hurling the winds and belching forth flames: Calamity on his left threatening famine disease and distress of all kinds. And Oh! thou wretch, look still a little further; see the gulph of eternal misery open. There mayest thou shortly plunge – the just reward of thy vileness. Alas! wither canst thou fly? Where hide thyself? Thou canst not call upon thy God; thy life has been a continual warfare with him.
Hark – ruin and confusion on every side. 'Tis thy turn next; but one short moment, even now, Oh Lord help. Jesus be merciful!
Thus did I reflect, and thus at every gust of wind 'till it pleased the Almighty to allay it. Nor did my emotions proceed either from the suggestions of too much natural fear, or a conscience over-burthened with crimes of an uncommon cast. I thank God, this was not the case. The scenes of horror exhibited around us, naturally awakened such ideas in every thinking breast, and aggravated the deformity of every failing of our lives. It were a lamentable insensability indeed, not to have had such feelings, and I think inconsistent with human nature.
Our distressed, helpless condition taught us humility and contempt of ourselves. The horrors of the night, the prospect of an immediate, cruel death – or, as one may say, of being crushed by the Almighty in his anger—filled us with terror. And every thing that had tended o weaken our interest with him, upbraided us in the strongest colours, with our baseness and folly. That which, in a calm uruffled temper, we call a natural cause, seemed then like the correction of the Deity. Our imagination represented him as an incensed master, executing vengeance on the crimes of his servants. The father and benefactor were forgot, an in that view, a consciousness of our guilt filled us with despair.
But see, the Lord relents. He hears our prayer. The Lighting ceases. The winds are appeased. The warring elements are reconciled and all things promise peace The darkness is dispell'd and drooping nature revives at the approaching dawn. Look back Oh! my soul, look back and tremble. Rejoice at thy deliverance, and humble thyself in the presence of thy deliverer.
Yet hold, Oh vain mortal! Check thy ill timed joy. Art thou so selfish to exult because thy lot is happy in a season of universal woe? Hast thou no feelings for the miseries of thy fellow-creatures? And art thou capable of the soft pangs of sympathetic sorrow? Look around thee and shudder at the view. See thy fellow-creatures pale and lifeless; their bodies mangled, their souls snatched into eternity, unexpecting. Alas! perhaps unprepared! Hark the bitter groans of distress. See sickness and infirmities exposed to the inclemencies of wind and water! See tender infancy pinched with hunger and hanging on the mothers knee for food! See the unhappy mothers anxiety. Her poverty denies relief, her breast heaves with maternal pity, her heart is bursting, the tears gush down her cheeks, Oh sights of woe! Oh distress unspeakable! My heart bleeds, but I have no power to solace! O ye, who revel in affluence, see the afflictions of humanity and bestow your superfluity to ease them. Say not, we have suffered also, and thence withhold your compassion. What are you[r] sufferings compared to those? Ye still have more than enough left. Act wisely. Succour the miserable and lay up treasure in Heaven.
I am afraid, Sir, you will think this description more the effort of imagination than a true picture of realities. But I can affirm with the greatest truth, that there is mot a single circumstance touched upon, which I have not been absolutely an eye witness to.
Our General (Ulrich Wilhelm Roepstorff, Gov. Gen. of St Croix) has issued several very salutary and humane regulations, and both in his publick and private measures, and has shewn himself the Man.
Monday, June 25, 2007
In addition to Hamilton's own writings, there is evidence of his Christian faith from those who knew him closely -- his friends, political allies, and family members. Observe their statements. After pointing out the radical defects of the Confederation, and vindicating the popular basis of the new Constitution, he declared his convictions that the latter was genuine specimen of a representative and republican government; and he hoped and trusted that we had found a cure for our evils, and that the new government would prove, in an eminent degree, a blessing to the nation. He concluded his first great speech with the Patriot's Prayer, “Oh, save my county, Heaven!” in allusion to the brave Cobham, who fell, “his ruling passion strong in death.”
"Chancellor [James] Kent relates: 'In his opening speech, Mr. H[amilton] preliminarily observed, that is was of the utmost importanct that the Convention should be stongly impressed with a conviction of the necessity of the Union of the States. If, they could be entirely satisfied of that great truth, their ninds would then be prepared to admit the necessity of a government of similar organization and powers with the scheme of the same before them, to uphold and preserve that Union. It was like the case of the doctrine of the IMMORTALITY of THE SOUL, and doubts on that subject were one great cause, he said, of modern infidelity; for, if men could be thoroughly convinced, that they had within them imaterial and immortal spirits, their minds would be prepared for the ready reception of the CHRISTIAN RELIGION.' "MORE IS COMING SOON!
~ History of the Republic of the United States, by John Church Hamilton; vol.3 p. 486
"Chancellor Kent, one of his dearest friends, wrote at one time: ... 'I have been insensibly struck, in a thousand instances, with his habitual reverence for truth, his candor, his ardent attachment to civil liberty, his indignation at oppression of every kind, his abhorrence of every semblance of fraud, his reverence for justice, and his sound, legal principles drawn by a clear and logical deduction from the purest Christian ethics, and from the very foundations of all rational and practical jurisprudence."
~ The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, by Allan McLane Hamilton, p. 198
"His religious feelings grew with his growing intimacy with the marvellous works of nature, all pointing in their processes and their results to a great pervading, ever active Cause. Thus his mind rose from the visible to the invisible; and he found the intensest pleasure in studies higher and deeper than all speculation. His Bible exhibits on its margin the care with which he perused it. Among his autographs is an abstract of the Apocalypse -- and notes in his hand were seen on the margin of 'Paley's Evidences.' With these readings he now united in the habit of daily prayer, in which the exercise of faith and love, the Lord's prayer was always a part. The renewing influences of early pious instruction and habit appear to have returned in all their force on his truest sensibilites, quickened by the infidelity shown in the action of the political world, and in the opinions and theories he had opposed, as subversive of social order. 'War,' he remarked, 'by the influence of the humane principles of Christianity had been striped of half its horrors. The French renounce Christianity, and they relapse into barbarism. War resumes the same hideous form which it wore in the ages of Gothic and Roman violence.' It was the tendency of infidelity he saw so rife that led him often to declare in the social circle his estimate of Christian truth. 'I have examined carefully,' he said to a friend from his boyhood, 'the evidence of the Christian religion; and, if I was sitting as juror upon its authenticity, I should unhestitatingly give my verdict in its favor' (Reminiscences of Gen. Morton). To another person, he observed, 'I have studied it, and I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.' "
~ History of the Republic, by Hamilton, vol. 7, p. 790
"The excellent family of the Boudinots relate that he [Hamilton] occasionally made a family prayer in their presence." -- footnote on the bottom of p. 48 of J. C. Hamilton's "Hist. of the Republic,"
~ History of the Republic of the United States, by John Church Hamilton, vol. 1, p. 48
"With a heart swelling with gratitude to the Author of his being, he observed to his wife, 'I may yet live twenty years, please God, and I will one day build a for them [Hamilton's neighbors?] a chapel in this grove.' "
~ History of the Republic, by J. C. Hamilton, vol 7: 789
" 'At this time,' Troup relates, 'the "General" was attentive to public worship, and in the habit of praying on his knees night and morning. I lived in the same room with him for some time, and I have often been powerfully affected by the fervor and eloquence of his prayers. He had read many of the polemical writers on religious subjects, and he was a zealous believer in the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. I confess that the arguments with which he was accostomed to justify his belief, have tended in no small degree to confirm my own faith in revealed religion.' A hymn of some merit written at this time, entitled 'The soul entering into bliss,' is preserved."
~ History of the Republic, J. C. Hamilton, vol. 1, pp. 47-48
"Genl. Hamilton has of late years expressed his conviction in the truths of the Christian Religion, and has desired to receive the Sacrament -- but no one of the Clergy who has yet been consulted will administer it."
~ Oliver Wolcott to his wife
SOURCE: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Harold Syrett and Jacob Cooke, volume XXVI, page 317
"He [Hamilton] labored intensely, and, withdrawn for a time from politics, sought and found relief from the painful reflections which growing delusion of the country forced upon him, in the duties of religion, in the circle of domestic joys, and in the embellishment of his rural retreat [the Grange]."
~History of the Republic of the United States, by J. C. Hamilton, vol. 7, p. 499
Much earnest conversation passed in undertone between his [Philip Hamilton's] father and himself on religious topics, from which the dying sufferer seemed to derive much consolation, while a radiance spread over Hamilton's face at the assured conviction of his son's resignation and his faith.
~ History of the Republic of the United States, by J. C. Hamilton, volume 7, p. 502
"I also have experienced vicissitudes in life. I have labored with my head more than nay man I know of. I have had my elevations and depressions of spirits. But I have never been happy, but when I was in the pursuit of Religion and Virtue."
~Alexander Hamilton in conversation with an Irish friend "Blake," which was recounted by Hamilton's son John C. Hamilton
SOURCE: History of the Republic of the United States, by John C. Hamilton, vol. 7, p. 741
"As it may add to the consolation of your respected mother, I think it well to say, that is has been and is my full belief, formed as I think on strong reasons, that if your father's life had been spared, no great portion of time would have elapsed before the Christian religion would have found in him a public professor and a most able advocate and defender."
~ General W. North to James A. Hamilton June 3, 1824
SOURCE: Reminiscences of Men and Events, by James Alexander Hamilton, p. 34
I saw him again this morning [of July 12, 1804], when, with his last faltering words, he expressed a strong confidence in the mercy of God through the intercession of the Redeemer. I remained with him until 2 o'clock this afternoon, when death closed the awful scene – he expired without a struggle, and almost without a groan.
By reflecting on this melancholy event, let the humble believer be encouraged ever to hold fast that precious faith which is the only source of true consolation in the last extremity of nature. Let the Infidel be persuaded to abandon his opposition to that gospel which the strong, inquisitive and comprehensive mind of a HAMILTON embraced, in his last moments, as the truth from heaven.
~ The Reverend Benjamin Moore to William Coleman (of the New York Evening Post), July 12, 1804
SOURCE: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, volume XXVI, pp.
After pointing out the radical defects of the Confederation, and vindicating the popular basis of the new Constitution, he declared his convictions that the latter was genuine specimen of a representative and republican government; and he hoped and trusted that we had found a cure for our evils, and that the new government would prove, in an eminent degree, a blessing to the nation. He concluded his first great speech with the Patriot's Prayer, “Oh, save my county, Heaven!” in allusion to the brave Cobham, who fell, “his ruling passion strong in death.”James Kent, Memoirs (by James Kent, 1898), p. 307
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Alexander Hamilton is not typically thought of as being a Christian, much less as a Christian statesman. He has shared the unfortunate fate of many of the Founding Fathers, who have been denounced by contemporary historians as deists who desired an strong secularist government kept from religion by the principle of "a wall of separation between church and state." However, a look into HIS writings reveals the zeal with he had for Christianity, and how he viewed the relationship between Christianity and government. Arraign not the dispensations of Providence, they must be founded in wisdom and goodness; and when they do not suit us, it must be because there is some fault in ourselves which deserves chastisement; or because there is a kind intent, to correct in us some vice or failing, of which, perhaps, we may not be conscious; or because the general plan requires that we should suffer partial ill. In this situation it is our duty to cultivate resignation, and even humility, bearing in mind, in the language of the poet, 'that it was pride which lost the blest abodes.' To an unknown recipient, April 12, 1804
Now see Hamilton's own words on:
Christianity and government:
There is so strong a similitude between your political principles and those maintained by Mr. [Thomas] Hobbes, that, in judging from them, a person might very easily mistake you for a disciple of his. His opinion was exactly coincident with yours, relative to man in a state of nature. He held, as you do, that he was then perfectly free from all restraint of law and government. Moral obligation, according to him, is derived from the introduction of civil society; and there is no virtue but what is purely artificial, the mere contrivance of politicians for the maintenance of social intercourse. But the reason he ran into this absurd and impious doctrine was, that he disbelieved the existence of an intelligent, superintending principle, who is the governor, and will be the final judge, of the universe.
As you sometimes swear by Him that made you, I conclude your sentiments do not correspond with his in that which is the basis of the doctrine you both agree in; and this makes it impossible to imagine whence this congruity between you arises. To grant that there is a Supreme Intelligence who rules the world and has established laws to regulate the actions of His creatures, and still to assert that man, in a state of nature, may be considered as perfectly free from all restraints of law and government, appears, to a common understanding, altogether irreconcilable.
Good and wise men, in all ages, have embraced a very dissimilar theory. They have supposed that the Deity, from the relations we stand in to Himself and to each other, has constituted an eternal and immutable law, which is indispensably obligatory upon all mankind, prior to any human institution whatever.
This is what is called the law of nature, "which, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is, of course, superior in obligations to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original."—BLACKSTONE.
Upon this law depend the natural rights of mankind: the Supreme Being gave existence to man, together with the means of preserving and beautifying that existence. He endowed him with rational faculties, by the help of which to discern and pursue such things as were consistent with his duty and interest; and invested him with an inviolable right to personal liberty and personal safety.
Hence, in a state of nature, no man had any moral power to deprive another of his life, limbs, property, or liberty; nor the least authority to command or exact obedience from him, except that which arose from the ties of consanguinity.
Hence, also, the origin of all civil government, justly established, must be a voluntary compact between the rulers and the ruled, and must be liable to such limitations as are necessary for the security of the absolute rights of the latter; for what original title can any man, or set of men, have to govern others, except their own consent? To usurp dominion over a people in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to intrust, is to violate that law of nature which gives every man a right to his personal liberty, and can therefore confer no obligation to obedience.
The principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature, but which could not be preserved in peace without that mutual assistance and intercourse which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals."—BLACKSTONE.
~ From "The Farmer Refuted” (1775)
In order to do this the more satisfactorily I beg leave to adopt the definition given of an established religion by a certain writer who has taken great pains to evince the contrary. "An established religion," says he, "is a religion which the civil authority engages not only to protect but to support. …the characteristic difference between a tolerated and established religion consists in this: With respect to the support of the former, the law is passive and improvident, leaving it to those who profess it to make as much, or as little, provision as they shall judge expedient; and to vary and alter that provision, as their circumstances may require. In this manner the Presbyterians and other sects are tolerated in England. They are allowed to exercise their religion without molestation, and to maintain their clergy as they think proper. These are wholly dependent upon their congregations, and can exact no more than they stipulate and are satisfied to contribute. But with respect to the support of the latter, the law is active and provident.
~ On the Quebec Bill, No. II (1775)
There is yet another class of opponents to the government and its administration, who are of too much consequence not to be mentioned: a sect of political doctors; a kind of POPES in government; standards of political orthodoxy, who brand with heresy all opinions but their own; men of sublimated imaginations and weak judgments; pretenders to profound knowledge, yet ignorant of the most useful of all sciences — the science of human nature; men who dignify themselves with the appellation of philosophers, yet are destitute of the first elements of true philosophy; lovers of paradoxes; men who maintain expressly that religion is not necessary to society, and very nearly that government itself is a nuisance; that priests and clergymen of all descriptions are worse than useless. Such men, the ridicule of any cause that they espouse, and the best witnesses to the goodness of that which they oppose, have no small share in the clamors which are raised, and in the dissatisfactions which are excited.
~ Vindication Of the Funding System #1 (1791?)
Let me add as a truth—which, perhaps, has no exception, however uncongenial with the fashionable patriotic creed—that, in the wise order of Providence, nations, in a temporal sense, may safely trust the maxim, that the observance of justice carries with it its own and a full reward.
~ Camillus # 22 (1795)
Take my ideas and weigh them of a proper course of conduct for our Administration in the present juncture. You have called Congress. 'T is well.Christianity and the Statesman's Duty:
When the Senate meets (which I should be glad to see anticipated), send a Commission Extraordinary to France. Let it consist of Jefferson or Madison, Pinckney, and a third very safe man, say, Cabot (or Jay).
Proclaim a religious solemnity to take place at the meeting of Congress.
~ To Secretary of War James McHenry (1797)
T'is now ascertained that Mr. Pinckney has been refused, and with circumstances of indignity. What is to be done? The share I have had in the public administration, added to my interest as a citizen, makes me extremely anxious that at this delicate crisis a course of conduct exactly proper may be adopted. I offer to your consideration, without what appears to me ceremony, such a course.
First.—I would appoint a day of humiliation and prayer. In such a crisis this appears to me proper in itself, and it will be politically useful to impress our nation that there is a serious state of things—to strengthen religious ideas in a contest, which in its progress may require that our people may consider themselves as the defenders of their country against atheism, conquest, and anarchy. It is far from evident to me that the progress of the war may not call on us to defend our firesides and our altars. And any plan which does not look forward to this as possible, will, in my opinion, be a superficial one. … I am also desirous of impressing the public mind strongly by a religious solemnity, to take place about the meeting of Congress. I also think the step intrinsically proper.
~ To Secretary of State Timothy Pickering (1797)
I would, at the same time, have the President to recommend a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. The occasion renders it proper, and religious ideas will be useful. I have this last measure at heart.
~ To Timothy Pickering (1798)
But that the truth cannot be material in any respect, is contrary to the nature of things. No tribunal, no codes, no systems can repeal or impair this law of God, for by his eternal laws it is inherent in the nature of things.
~ Speech in Defense of Harry Croswell
Another and a very serious evil, chargeable on the system opposite to that proposed, is that it leads to frequent and familiar violations of oaths, which by loosening one of the strongest bands of society, and weakening one of the principal securities to life and property, offends, not less against the maxims of good government and sound policy, than against those of religion and morality.
~ Report on Public Credit
Reason, religion, philosophy, policy, disavow the spurious and odious doctrine, that we ought to cherish and cultivate enmity with any nation whatever. – Horatius (1795)
It is the fervent wish of patriotism that our councils and nation may be united and resolute. The dearest interests call for it. A great public danger commands it. Every good man will rejoice to embrace the adversary of his former opinions, if he will now by candor and energy evince his attachment to his country. Whoever does not do this, consigns himself to irrevocable dishonor. But it is not the triumph over a political rival which the true lover of his country desires—it is the safety and the welfare of that country; and he will gladly share with his bitterest opponent the glory of defending and preserving her. Americans, rouse—be unanimous, be virtuous, be firm, exert your courage, trust in Heaven, and nobly defy the enemies both of God and man! – The Stand # VI
How laudable was the example of Elizabeth, who, when she was transferred from the prison to the throne, fell upon her knees, and thanking Heaven for the deliverance it had granted her from her bloody persecutors, dismissed her resentment. "This act of pious gratitude," says her historian, "seems to have been the last circumstance in which she remembered any past injuries and hardships. With a prudence and magnanimity truly laudable, she buried all offenses in oblivion, and received with affability even those who acted with the greatest virulence against her." She did more, she retained many of the opposite party in her councils. – Phocion # I
Cherish good faith and justice towards, and peace and harmony with all nations. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct, and it cannot be but that true policy equally demands it. It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people invariably governed by those exalted views. Who can doubt that in a long course of time and events the fruits of such a conduct would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to the plan? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices? – Hamilton's Draft of Washington's Farewell Address
In all those dispositions which promote political happiness, religion and morality are essential props. In vain does he claim the praise of patriotism, who labors to subvert or undermine these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest foundations of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public happiness. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of moral and religious obligation deserts the oaths which are administered in courts of justice? Nor ought we to flatter ourselves that morality can be separated from religion. Concede as much as may be asked to the effect of refined education in minds of peculiar structure, can we believe, can we in prudence suppose, that national morality can be maintained in exclusion of religious principles? Does it not require the aid of a generally received and divinely authoritative religion? 'Tis essentially true that virtue or morality is a main and necessary spring of popular or republican governments. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to all free governments. Who that is a prudent and sincere friend to them, can look with indifference on the ravages which are making in the foundation of the fabric—religion? The uncommon means which of late have been directed to this fatal end, seem to make it in a particular manner the duty of a retiring chief of a nation to warn his country against tasting of the poisonous draught.
Cultivate, also, industry and frugality. They are auxiliaries of good morals, and great sources of private and national prosperity.
~ Farewell Address
Hamilton's Christian Beliefs and Slavery:
PRINCIPLES [of the New York Manumission Society]: Christianity and the French Revolution:
The Benevolent Creator and Father of Men having given to them all, an equal Right to Life, Liberty and Property; no Sovereign Power, on Earth, can justly deprive them of either; but in Conformity to impartial Government and Laws to which they have expressly or tacitly [by implication] consented --
OBJECTS OF THE SOCIETY:
It is our duty, therefore, as Free Citizens and Christians, not only to regard, with Compassion, the injustice done to those, among us, who are held as Slaves, but to endeavor, by lawful Ways and Means, to enable them to Share, equally with us, in that civil and religious Liberty, with which an indulgent Providence has blessed these States; and to which these, our Brethren, are by Nature, as much entitled as ourselves ...
~ Minutes of the New York Manumission Society (of which Hamilton was a chief founder) of 1784
How clearly is it proved by this that the praise of a civilized world is justly due to Christianity;—war, by the influence of the humane principles of that religion, has been stripped of half its horrors. The French renounce Christianity, and they relapse into barbarism;—war resumes the same hideous and savage form which it wore in the ages of Gothic and Roman violence.God's Providence in History:
~ “The War in Europe” (1799)
I agree with you in the reflections you make on the tendency of public demonstrations of attachment to the cause of France. 'Tis certainly not wise to expose ourselves to the jealousy and resentment of the rest of the world, by a fruitless display of zeal for that cause. It may do us much harm, and it can do France no good (unless indeed we are to embark in the war with her, which nobody is so hardy as to avow, though some secretly machinate it). It cannot be without danger and inconvenience to our interests to impress on the nations of Europe an idea that we are actuated by the same spirit which has for some time past fatally misguided the measures of those who conduct the affairs of France, and sullied a cause once glorious, and that might have been triumphant. The cause of France is compared with that of America during its late revolution. Would to Heaven that the comparison were just. Would to Heaven we could discern in the mirror of French affairs the same humanity, the same decorum, the same gravity, the same order, the same dignity, the same solemnity, which distinguished the cause of the American Revolution. Clouds and darkness would not then rest upon the issue as they now do. I own I do not like the comparison. When I contemplate the horrid and systematic massacres of the 2d and 3d of September; when I observe that a Marat and a Robespierre, the notorious prompters of those bloody scenes, sit triumphantly in the convention and take a conspicuous part in its measures—that an attempt to bring the assassins to justice has been obliged to be abandoned; when I see an unfortunate prince, whose reign was a continued demonstration of the goodness and benevolence of his heart, of his attachment to the people of whom he was the monarch, who, though educated in the lap of despotism, had given repeated proofs that he was not the enemy of liberty, brought precipitately and ignominiously to the block without any substantial proof of guilt, as yet disclosed—without even an authentic exhibition of motives, in decent regard to the opinions of mankind; when I find the doctrines of atheism openly advanced in the convention, and heard with loud applause; when I see the sword of fanaticism extended to force a political creed upon citizens who were invited to submit to the arms of France as the harbingers of liberty; when I behold the hand of rapacity outstretched to prostrate and ravish the monuments of religious worship, erected by those citizens and their ancestors; when I perceive passion, tumult, and violence usurping those seats, where reason and cool deliberation ought to preside, I acknowledge that I am glad to believe there is no real resemblance between what was the cause of America and what is the cause of France—that the difference is no less great than that between liberty and licentiousness. I regret whatever has a tendency to compound them, and I feel anxious, as an American, that the ebullitions of inconsiderate men among us may not tend to involve our reputation in the issue.
~ To an Unknown Recipient (1793)
In reviewing the disgusting spectacle of the French Revolution, it is difficult to avert the eye entirely from those features of it which betray a plan to disorganize the human mind itself, as well as to undermine the venerable pillars that support the edifice of civilized society. The attempt by the rulers of a nation to destroy all religious opinion, and to pervert a whole nation to atheism, is a phenomenon of profligacy reserved to consummate the infamy of the unprincipled reformers of France. The proofs of this terrible design are numerous and convincing.
The animosity to the Christian system is demonstrated by the single fact of the ridiculous and impolitic establishment of the decades, with the evident object of supplanting the Christian Sabbath. The inscriptions by public authority on the tombs of the deceased, affirming death to be an eternal sleep, witness the desire to discredit the belief of the immortality of the soul. The open profession of atheism in the convention, received with acclamations; the honorable mention on its journals of a book professing to prove the nothingness of all religion; the institution of a festival to offer public worship to a courtesan decorated with the pompous title of "Goddess of Reason"; the congratulatory reception of impious children appearing in the hall of the convention to lisp blasphemy against the King of kings, are among the dreadful proofs of a conspiracy to establish atheism on the ruins of Christianity,—to deprive mankind of its best consolations and most animating hopes, and to make a gloomy desert of the universe.
Latterly, the indications of this plan are not so frequent as they were, but from time to time something still escapes which discovers that it is not renounced. The late address of Buonaparte [sic] to the Directory is an example. That unequalled conqueror, from whom it is painful to detract, in whom one would wish to find virtues worthy of his shining talents, profanely unites religion (not superstition) with royalty and the feudal system as the scourges of Europe for centuries past. The decades likewise remain the catapulta which are to batter down Christianity.
Equal pains have been taken to deprave the morals as to extinguish the religion of the country, if indeed morality in a community can be separated from religion. It is among the singular and fantastic vagaries of the French Revolution, that while the Duke of Brunswick was marching to Paris a new law of divorce was passed, which makes it as easy for a husband to get rid of his wife, and a wife of her husband, as to discard a worn-out habit. To complete the dissolution of those ties, which are the chief links of domestic and ultimately of social attachment, the journals of the convention record with guilty applause the accusations preferred by children against their parents.
It is not necessary to heighten the picture by sketching the horrid group of proscriptions and murders which have made France a den of pillage and slaughter; blackening with eternal opprobrium the very name of man.
The pious and moral weep over these scenes as a sepulchre [sic] destined to entomb all they revere and esteem. The politician who loves liberty, sees them with regret as a gulf that may swallow up the liberty to which he is devoted. He knows that morality overthrown (and morality must fall with religion), the terrors of despotism can alone curb the impetuous passions of man, and confine him within the bounds of social duty.
~ The Stand # III (1798; emphasis original)
What is there in that terrific picture [of the French Revolution] which you are to admire or imitate? Is it the subversion of the throne of the Bourbons, to make way for the throne of the Bonapartes [sic]? Is it the undistinguishing massacre in prisons and dungeons, of men, women, and children? Is it the sanguinary justice of revolutionary tribunals, or the awful terrors of a guillotine? Is it the rapid succession of revolution upon revolution, erecting the transient power of one set of men upon the tombs of another? Is it the assassinations which have been perpetrated, or the new ones which are projected? Is it the open profession of impiety in the public assemblies, or the ridiculous worship of a Goddess of Reason, or the still continued substitution of decades to the Christian Sabbath? Is it the destruction of commerce, the ruin of manufactures, the oppression of agriculture? Or, is it the pomp of war, the dazzling glare of splendid victories, the bloodstained fields of Europe, the smoking cinders of desolated cities, the afflicting spectacle of millions precipitated from plenty and comfort to beggary and misery? If it be none of these things, what is it?
~ Address to the Electors of the State of New York (1801)
Facts, numerous and unequivocal, demonstrate that the present ÆRA is among the most extraordinary which have occurred in the history of human affairs. Opinions, for a long time, have been gradually gaining ground, which threaten the foundations of religion, morality, and society. An attack was first made upon the Christian revelation, for which natural religion was offered as the substitute. The Gospel was to be discarded as a gross imposture, but the being and attributes of GOD, the obligations of piety, even the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments, were to be retained and cherished.
In proportion as success has appeared to attend the plan, a bolder project has been unfolded. The very existence of a Deity has been questioned and in some instances denied. The duty of piety has been ridiculed, the perishable nature of man asserted, and his hopes bounded to the short span of his earthly state. DEATH has been proclaimed an ETERNAL SLEEP; "the dogma of the immortality of the soul a cheat, invented to torment the living for the benefit of the dead." Irreligion, no longer confined to the closets of conceited sophists, nor to the haunts of wealthy riot, has more or less displayed its hideous front among all classes.
Wise and good men took a lead in delineating the odious character of despotism, in exhibiting the advantages of a moderate and well-balanced government, in inviting nations to contend for the enjoyment of national liberty. Fanatics in political science have since exaggerated and perverted their doctrines. Theories of government unsuited to the nature of man, miscalculating the force of his passions, disregarding the lessons of experimental wisdom, have been projected and recommended. These have everywhere attracted sectaries, and everywhere the fabric of government has been in different degrees undermined.
A league has at length been cemented between the apostles and disciples of irreligion and of anarchy. Religion and government have both been stigmatized as abuses; as unwarrantable restraints upon the freedom of man; as causes of the corruption of his nature, intrinsically good; as sources of an artificial and false morality which tyrannically robs him of the enjoyments for which his passions fit him, and as clogs upon his progress to the perfection for which he was destined.
As a corollary from these premises, it is a favorite tenet of the sect that religious opinion of any sort is unnecessary to society; that the maxims of a genuine morality and the authority of the magistracy and the laws are a sufficient and ought to be the only security for civil rights and private happiness.
Fragment on French Revolution (unknown date of authorship)
If, happily, the possession of the power of our once-detested government shall be a talisman to work the conversion of all its enemies, we shall be ready to rejoice that good has come out of evil. But we dare not too far indulge this pleasing hope. We know that the adverse party has its Dantons, and its Robespierres, as well as its Brissots and its Rolands; and we look forward to the time when the sects of the former will endeavor to confound the latter and their adherents, together with the Federalists, in promiscuous ruin.
In regard to these sects, which compose the pith and essence of the anti-federal party, we believe it to be true that the contest between us is indeed a war of principles—a war between tyranny and liberty, but not between monarchy and republicanism. It is a contest between the tyranny of Jacobinism, which confounds and levels every thing, and the mild reign of rational liberty, which rests on the basis of an efficient and well-balanced government, and through the medium of stable laws shelters and protects the life, the reputation, the civil and religious rights of every member of the community.
~ Address to the Electors of the State of New York (1801)
With these impressions, with a firm reliance on the blessing of Providence upon a government framed under circumstances which afford a new and instructive example of wisdom and moderation to mankind; with an entire conviction that it will be more prudent to rely, for whatever amendments may be desirable in the said Constitution, on the mode therein prescribed, than either to embarrass the Union or hazard dissensions in any part of the community by pursuing a different course, and with a full confidence that the amendments which shall have been proposed will receive an early and mature consideration, and that such of them as may in any degree tend to the real security and permanent advantage of the people, will be adopted: We, the said delegates, in the name and behalf of the PEOPLE of this State, Do, by these presents, assent to and RATIFY the Constitution aforesaid, hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said Constitution is binding upon the said people according to an authentic copy hereunto annexed.Hamilton's Christian Faith:
~ Draft of Proposed Ratification of the US Constitution (1788)
The two armies, now equally willing to try the fortune of a battle, met and engaged near Guilford Court-House. All that could be expected from able disposition towards insuring success, promised a favorable issue to the American arms. But superior discipline carried it against superior numbers and superior skill. Victory decreed the glory of the combat to the Britons; but Heaven, confirming the hopes of Greene, decreed the advantage of it to the Americans. Greene retired; Cornwallis kept the field. But Greene retired only three miles; and Cornwallis, in three days, abandoning the place where the laurels he had gained were a slender compensation for the loss he had suffered, withdrew to Wilmington on the sea-coast.
~ Eulogium for Major-General Nathanial Greene (1789)
Fellow-citizens, we beseech you to consult your experience and not listen to tales of evil, which exist only in the language, not even in the imaginations, of those who deal them out. This experience will tell you, that our opposers have been uniformly mistaken in their views of our Constitution, of its administration, in all the judgments which they have pronounced of our public affairs; and, consequently, that they are unfaithful or incapable advisers. It will teach you that you have eminently prospered under the system of public measures pursued and supported by the Federalists. In vain are you told that you owe your prosperity to your own industry, and to the blessings of Providence. To the latter, doubtless, you are primarily indebted. You owe to it, among other benefits, the Constitution you enjoy, and the wise administration of it by virtuous men as its instruments. You are likewise indebted to your own industry. But has not your industry found aliment and incitement in the salutary operation of your government—in the preservation of order at home—in the cultivation of peace abroad—in the invigoration of confidence in pecuniary dealings—in the increased energies of credit and commerce—in the extension of enterprise, ever incident to a good government well administered? Remember what your situation was immediately before the establishment of the present Constitution? Were you then deficient in industry more than now? If not, why were you not equally prosperous? Plainly, because your industry had not at that time the vivifying influences of an efficient and well-conducted government.
~ Address to the Electors of the State of New York (1801)
And whereas, notwithstanding we have, by the blessing of Providence, so far happily escaped the complicated dangers of such a situation [total bankruptcy and complete national dissolution], and now see the object of our wishes secured by an honorable peace, it would be unwise to hazard a repetition of the same dangers and embarrassments in any future war in which these States may be engaged, or to continue this extensive empire under a government unequal to its protection and prosperity.
~ Resolutions for a General Convention (1783)
"The state and progress of the Jews," Hamilton remarked elsewhere, "from their earliest history to the present time, has been so entirely out of the ordinary course of human affairs, is it not then a fair conclusion, that the cause is an EXTRAORDINARY ONE -- in other words, that it is the effect of some great providential plan? The man who will draw this conclusion, will look for the solution in the Bible. He who will not draw it ought to give us another fair solution."
~ History of the Republic of the United States, as Traced in the Writings of Alexander Hamilton and His Contemporaries, John Church Hamilton, volume 7, page 711
I have examined carefully the evidence of the Christian religion;and, if I was sitting as juror upon its authenticity, I should unhestitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I have studied it, and I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.
~ History of the Republic of the United States, as Traced in the Writings of Alexander Hamilton and His Contemporaries, by J. C. Hamilton, volume 7, page 790
The triumphs of vice are no new thing under the sun, and I fear, till the millennium comes, in spite of all our boasted light and purification, hypocrisy and treachery will continue to be the most successful commodities in the political market.
~ To Richard Harrison (1793)
He [Gouverneur Morris] asks, "Why distrust the evidence of the Jews? Discredit them, and you destroy the Christian religion." Has he forgotten what this race once were, when, under the immediate government of God himself, they were selected as the witnesses of his miracles, and charged with the spirit of prophecy? or how they changed when, the remnants of the scattered tribes, they were the degraded, persecuted, reviled subjects of Rome, in all her resistless power, and pride, and pagan pomp, an isolated, tributary, and friendless people? Has the gentleman recurred to the past with his wonted accuracy? Is it so, that if we then degraded the Jews, we destroy the evidence of Christianity? Were not the witnesses of that pure and holy, happy and Heaven-approved faith, converts to that faith?
~ Speech before the New York Supreme Court in the case Le Guen v. Gouverneur and Kemble (1800)
SOURCE: History of the Republic of the United States, as Traced in the Writings of Alexander Hamilton and His Contemporaries, John Church Hamilton, volume 7, page 711
~ Confession of faith before Reverend John M. Mason, who recorded it in a letter (July 18, 1804) to the New York Evening Post
SOURCE: The Complete Works of John M. Mason, D. D., volume 4, p. 525
Alexander Hamilton said, upon being asked by the Reverend Benjamin Moore "Do you sincerely repent of your sins past? Have you a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ? And are you disposed to live in love and charity with all men," answered: "With the utmost sincerity of heart I can answer those questions in the affirmative – I have no ill will against Col. Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm – I forgive all that happened."
~ SOURCE: Letter by Reverend Benjamin Moore to William Coleman of the New York Evening Post (July 12, 1804)
Arraign not the dispensations of Providence, they must be founded in wisdom and goodness; and when they do not suit us, it must be because there is some fault in ourselves which deserves chastisement; or because there is a kind intent, to correct in us some vice or failing, of which, perhaps, we may not be conscious; or because the general plan requires that we should suffer partial ill. In this situation it is our duty to cultivate resignation, and even humility, bearing in mind, in the language of the poet, 'that it was pride which lost the blest abodes.' To an unknown recipient, April 12, 1804
Monday, June 18, 2007
Welcome to the Alexander Hamilton Patriot blog!
This blog is an extension of the work begun by my other blogs The Foundation Forum and Meet the Founding Fathers, which provide materials and insight into the hidden and little-known past of our American Revolution, our Founding Era, and our Founding Fathers.
This blog will explore, by displaying Hamilton's writings, little-known information about him, but especially his Christian faith and true American statesmanship.
Enjoy this blog as I continue to build it!