(Second of two parts)
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – JOHN ADAMS
In January we wrote about how fervent Alexander Hamilton was about his Christian faith. Click here for Hamilton: Unapologetic Christian Part One.
A native of the West Indies and orphaned at an early age, Hamilton’s friendship with a Presbyterian minister on the island of St. Croix led to the minister and others sponsoring young Hamilton’s education in New York.
Hamilton finished his formal schooling and earned a Bachelor’s degree at King’s College, now Columbia University, in just one year.
In 1775 Hamilton created a volunteer military company and on March 14, 1776 he was commissioned Captain of New York’s Artillery. His intelligence and skill with artillery caught the attention of Nathaniel Greene, which later led to his introduction to General George Washington.
Hamilton was only twenty years told when Washington promoted him to Lieutenant Colonel and made the young islander his aide-decamp in 1777. Hamilton served as a military secretary and advisor to Washington for four and a half years.
After the war Hamilton turned his talents to politics and the law. A proponent of a strong central government, Hamilton is credited with writing half of the Federalist papers and played an important role in having the Constitution ratified.
A brilliant writer and financier, he skillfully guided the world’s newest country past the pitfalls of its Revolutionary War debt as the nation’s first Treasury Secretary, quickly putting his adopted country on solid financial footing.
Hamilton was happily married to wealthy New York socialite Elizabeth Schuyler (December, 1780) and the Hamilton’s had eight children over the years. The family was well respected locally and was prominent in civic affairs.
Unfortunately like many career-minded people, Hamilton’s personal ambition sometimes caused him to relegate God to the back seat at different periods of his public life. Then as now, this often leads to spiritual problems that manifest themselves in unforeseen ways.
The worst incident for Hamilton became public in the summer of 1797 as a result of an affair six years earlier. Infamously he became the first American politician embroiled in a public sex scandal. While serving as the country’s first Treasury Secretary during the summer of 1791, the 34-year-old Hamilton began a year-long affair with a 23-year old named Maria Reynolds.
Making matters worse Hamilton was blackmailed during the affair by the husband of the woman he was seeing. When all this became public five years later, a ruthless journalist named James T. Callender made the case that Hamilton used government funds as U.S. Treasury Secretary to make the blackmail payments.
He was eventually exonerated on using the payments for his blackmailer but his public reputation was tarnished and his future with the Federalist Party he helped found was ruined.
Stripped of his party and his honor, in 1800 Hamilton focused his efforts on opposing both the Democratic-Republican backed Thomas Jefferson and the Federalist nominee, John Adams. Ever resourceful, Hamilton raised about $10,000 from a group of investors to create a bully pulpit for his political opinions by founding the New York-Evening Post, known today as the New York Post.
Less than a week after the newspaper was created Hamilton’s first born son Philip was shot in a duel defending his father’s honor. Fourteen hours later, with his mother and father at his bedside, Philip professed his faith in Christ before succumbing.
The death of their eldest child crushed the Hamilton’s and their remaining six children. Their oldest daughter Angelica was 17 at the time and suffered a mental breakdown after her older brother’s death from which she never recovered.
Still mourning three months later, Hamilton revealed his own spiritual thinking in a letter to Declaration of Independence signer Benjamin Rush on Feb 12, 1802: “My loss is indeed great…he was a fine youth…But why should I repine? It was the will of heaven, and he is now out of reach of the seductions and calamities of a world of folly, full of vice, full of danger…I firmly trust, also, that he has safely reached the haven of eternal repose and felicity.”
In 1802 Hamilton proposed a Christian Constitutional Society that had two goals: The support of the Christian religion and the support of the Constitution of the United States.
Cynics say that the real purpose of the society was to create a new political party to oppose the other two parties, but in the letter outlining the plan to society co-founder James Bayard Hamilton wrote, “I have carefully examined the evidences of the Christian religion, and if I was sitting as a juror upon its authenticity I would unhesitatingly give my verdict in its favor. I can prove its truth as clearly as any proposition ever submitted to the mind of man.”
Unfortunately like his son Philip, Hamilton was also killed in a duel, this one with Vice-President Aaron Burr on June 27th, 1804. Burr blamed Hamilton’s opposition for costing him both the 1800 presidential election and the 1804 New York gubernatorial election and justified the duel by claiming Hamilton attacked his honor at an upstate New York dinner party.
Historical accounts vary on details of the duel, some saying Hamilton intentionally missed because he personally opposed dueling. Regardless, Burr’s shot struck Hamilton in the abdomen just above his right hip.
Knowing the wound was serious, the next evening Hamilton requested communion be administered by the rector of Trinity Church, the Rev. Benjamin Moore. Moore initially refused because the church forbade dueling, but he agreed the second time he was summoned by his mortally wounded parishioner.
Hamilton’s final words to Rev. Moore hours before his passing were these: “I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a sinner. I look to Him for mercy; pray for me.”
Thanks for reading Dean Riffs. Welcome to those who love American liberty, free enterprise, and who believe God has blessed our country. For those who believe in open borders, safe spaces, and who think free speech is hate speech, move on – there’s nothing here for you to see.
Source: founders.archives.gov, washingtonpost.com
Photo source: americangallery.files.wordpress.com, qph.ec.quoracdn.net, us.history.org
Copyright 2018, Dean A. George©