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windows of a lady's outfitter's shop without weeping; and the only thing which prevents laughter in front of a bonnet-shop is the prices. A lady may suffer from severe facial neuralgia on exposure to cold; but if the goddess of fashion decree that the bonnet shall be worn on the back of the head, she must suffer patiently till the reaction to pokebonnets arrives; then she will have a temporary respite from her agony, till the next change again leaves the facial area exposed. She may have sensitive eyes; but no shade of head- dress shall protect her from the sun's piercing rays, unless broad-brimmed hats happen to be a la mode. If her skin is sensitive and given to blister, there is a legion of cosmetics advertised—at prices which make a serious inroad on a lady's pin-money. To beautify the skin and clear the complexion, it is not essential to wear a suitable headdress; the modiste settles the form of hat or bonnet, and if the cosmetic-vendor is benefited thereby, why, there is no great objection to that. Is not the lady of fashion one of the fat kine, on which the lean kine can subsist? and the modiste plays into her fellow-trader's hands.
What can be said also of the fashionable life, so craved after by many who can not enter it, so loathed by many who can not get out of it? Ladies setting off at midnight to a ball, and dancing till daylight, with what stimulants, alcoholic and vinous, let the novelists who aspire to depict high life be the evidence; turning day into night, and night into day, for no earthly reason except that such life contrasts with every other life. No wonder a cup of tea is requisite, the first thing in the morning, to rouse the jaded frame to sustain the effort of dressing, aided by a cold bath, to give a fictitious sense of energy; or some potent wine at lunch to keep up the delicate frame. A season of fashionable life requires an autumn in the country, or at Carlsbad-"for papa's gout"—in order to set the young frames up again. It may be a life of pleasure to be looked forward to in the grand optimism of youth; but what is there in it to make it pleasant to look back upon? It is an outrage on all physiological laws. It makes the life of a lady of bon ton more arduous than her housemaid's, more irksome than a ballet dancer's. Yet because it is the life of the highest circles, those in the social strata beneath think it is to be coveted. The physiologist thinks otherwise; and very decidedly so too. Good Words.
NOT LOST, BUT GONE BEFORE.-These words are quoted in a collection of epitaphs by Pettigrew, published by Lackington early in the nineteenth century. The tomb on which they occur is that of Mary Angel, widow, who died at Stepney 1693, aged seventy-two. The inscription runs thus:
To say an angel here interred doth lye
This only fell from death to earth,
Not lost, but gone before.
Her dust lodged here, her soul, perfect in grace, 'Mongst saints and angels now hath took its place.
NINE TAILORS MAKE A MAN.--In North's "Church Bells of Leicestershire," the author, in speaking of tolling for the dead, says: "These tolls are called 'tellers,' and it has been suggested that the old saying 'Nine tailors make a man' is a corruption of 'Nine tellers mark a man,' meaning that three times three tolls or tellers are struck on the passing bell for a man." At Wimbledon it is still the custom to strike three times three for an adult male and three times two for a female on the tenor bell; but for children under twelve the treble bell is used, and the strokes are twice three for a male, and twice two for a female.
[CONTINUED FROM MARCH NUMBER.]
It was already the daybreak of the Revolution. The rank offenses of Great Britain against colonial liberty had gone up to heaven. The Boston Port Bill was passed in March of '74. The colonists spoke openly of resistance. The conservatives, royal officers, reactionary sycophants, and tory ecclesiastics said "treason." Then the people spoke louder than before. New York was shaken. A committee of defense was appointed, but the people ran ahead of the committee. As a matter of fact the people are always ahead of the committee. When you want any delicate piece of mineing conservatism attended to, you should always appoint & committee. In the day of doubt and danger it is the magnetism and example of personal leadership that brings up Israel out of Egypt.
In the beginning of July, the people of New York called a meeting "in the fields." The particular field in question was in sight, almost in hearing, of Columbia College. Young Hamilton attended the meeting. The speakers had fire and enthusiasm; but the stripling said to his friends: "They have not argued the question." Thereupon he wascalled to speak. He went up pale and tremulous to the stand, and from that day the slender collegian was a manof note in the American colonies. His life-work had risen upon him in an hour.
Events followed swift and fast. The military spirit broke out. Political societies were formed. Liberty was debated. The man of brains and courage was at a premium. The skulk and the coward went to their own place. The students of Columbia College took fire. Hamilton organized them and some other young men of the city into an artillery company, and was chosen captain. In the hour of danger and glory the first man is always made the captain. In the day of buncombe the last man is made captain. In the hour of danger and glory men want a hero for a leader. In the day of buncombe they want a fool for a figure-head.The war came on in earnest, and Hamilton, at the head of his volunteer company of artillerymen, immediately began to display those sterling qualities for which his military career is distinguished. He studied the art of war with a zeal unsurpassed among the officers of the Continental army. With an infallible intuition, he adapted the military science of the books to the somewhat anomalous conditionsunder which the revolutionary campaigns must be conducted. He had the fire and enthusiasm of Greene, the daring of Wayne, and the caution of Washington.
A few days after the battle of White Plains, in which Hamilton's battery had taken a conspicuous part, when the American army, undisciplined and dispirited, was receding across Manhattan into the Jerseys, the attention of Washington was called to a redoubt which some one had thrown up at Haarlem Heights. The general was astonished at the skill manifested in the construction of the work. He inquired by whose command it had been built, and was answered, by Captain Hamilton of the artillery. The young officer was sent for to the quarters of the commander-inchief. It was the conjunction of Jove and Mercury. The two soldiers met, and such was the profound impression made upon the mind of Washington, that the slender fair-faced captain was invited to become the general's aid and private secretary. Hamilton saw that to accept was to deprive himself of that military glory which was almost sure to follow active service in the field; but to accept was also to be constantly in the companionship and confidence of the Cincinnatus of the West. He chose the latter, and be
A lecture delivered in the Amphitheater at Chautauqua, August, 1881, by James Clarke Ridpath, LL. D.
fore he was twenty years of age had so won the favor of his chief as to become through life his most trusted counselor. There is not perhaps in all history an instance of personal attachment more rémarkable, more lasting, more unselfish, more honorable, than that of Washington and Hamilton. Great was the disparity between them. Washington was sedate and saturnine; Hamilton was communicative and -Sociable. In discerning the ultimate principle of things Washington was slow and dull; Hamilton, quick as an electric flash. Washington could see a fact, but not its secret springs and causes; in the power to discover the principia and germs of things, Hamilton surpassed all other men of the Revolutionary epoch. Washington could handle -events in mass; Hamilton could interpret them. The mind of Washington moved to its purpose with heavy strides; the intellect of Hamilton flew to the mark with unerring accuracy. Washington labored to express that which he knew to be right and true, but there was always spherical and chromatic aberration about the things he saw; in Hamilton's mind every fact whirled into focus with the rapidity and precision of the most perfect instrument. Washington was the least ambitious of all the great men known in history; in Hamilton's breast the fires of a high ambition burned day and night with inextinguishable brightness. But in sincere devotion, lofty patriotism, and unspotted soundness of character, it would be hard to assign the palm.
It thus happened that the Hamiltonian intellect became the interpreter of the Washingtonian desire. Upon the thing which Washington reached for in the darkness Hamilton turned the full light of his genius. From his hand came nearly all the papers and dispatches of the general-inchief. Much of the chaos of the Revolutionary tumult sank into order under Hamilton's amazing activities. He was everywhere present. He advised in everything. The discipline of the headquarters of the army was his work. At the public dinners which Washington sometimes gave to his officers and to the great men of the colonies, Hamilton presided with the grace and dignity of the most accomplished diplomat. If any hazardous business arose, requiring celerity and silence, Hamilton was sent to do it. He it was who gave Arnold his desperate chase down the river: it was the avenging angel after the devil. If some matter of great and responsible management, like the bringing -down from the North of the army of the inflated Gates, was to be undertaken, Hamilton was commissioned for the work. If some low scheme of inter-colonial intrigue and jealousy, portending ruin to the patriot cause, had to be outwitted and brought to open shame, Hamilton was appointed to the task. He it was-and it is one of the secret passages of history-who drew the blatant Wilkinson to Lord Stirling's dinner table, knowing that he would heat himself with wine and divulge the treasonable conspiracy of Conway, Mifflin, and Gates against Washington, which Hamilton had scented in the air during his recent visit to the North. If the general-in-chief required a calm, dispas- | sionate, and comprehensive paper, laying before Congress .and the country-some of the great questions of the Revolution, he had only to indicate his wish, and on the morrow there would be placed in his hands a document that would have done credit to the best diplomacy of Europe. All the way through, from Long Island to Yorktown, from Yorktown to the presidency, from the presidency to Mount Vernon, this same tireless, watchful spirit, this same indefatigable genius went by the side of his chief, through evil report and good, sharing his trust, inspiring his counsels, and delivering his wisdom and patriotism to the army and the people. It is not to the discredit of Washington-for nothing .can ever disparage that immortal figure-that Hamilton was his chief support, his oracle, and his guide.
It is not my purpose, to review at any length Hamilton's
career as a soldier. His extreme youth and the restrictions with which he was hampered as a member of the general's staff obscured the display of his military talents. Yet as occasion offered, his daring and celerity in the field shone out with peculiar luster. He it was who brought up the shattered rear in the perilous retreat from Long Island. Think of a boy of nineteen on such a duty as that! No wonder that Greene and Washington were astonished. At the dangerous passage of the Raritan, with the enemy on the other bank and the river fordable, it was Hamilton's batteries, placed on the heights, that blazed into the face of the foe until the patriots were safe out of reach. He it was who broke the letters which laid bare the treachery of Arnold, and he it was who first revealed to Washington that deep-laid scheme of villainy and treason. When at last, on the night of the 14th of October, the British redoubts at Yorktown were to be carried by storm, Hamilton, by special request made to Washington, was ordered to lead the American advance. Taking his place at the head of the column, he and his men dashed forward and tore through the abatis as if it were a sport of the holidays; and while the British shells were blazing and bursting in the darkness, Hamilton, unhurt, with sword in hand, placed his foot on the shoulder of a soldier and was the first man to leap the parapet in the last charge of the Revolution. The rest came pouring after, and the blackened redoubt was carried without the firing of a gun.
On the evening of the 23d of October, 1781, the watchmen of Philadelphia, going their nightly rounds, uttered this welcome cry: "Ten o'clock! Starlight night! Cornwallis is taken!" It was a fitting thing that this glorious proclamation of freedom and victory should thus be made under the eternal benignity of the open heavens and the silent benediction of the stars, in the streets of that old town which first among the cities of the world had heard the declaration that all men are created equal. Though peace lagged for a season, the war was at an end. The patriots who at Concord and Lexington had begun a battle for the rights of Englishmen had ended by winning their independence.
In all history there is nothing more pitiable than the condition of the civil government of the United States during and just after the Revolution. While the army, under the lead of Washington, covered the American name with glory, Congress, under the lead of nobody, covered it with contempt. Of a certainty it was not the fault of the great and patriotic men who for the most part comprised that body; but it was the inherent weakness of the puerile organism under which they were expected to act. The confederate system, as hurriedly devised amid the terrors of war in the summer of 1777, was the very climax of organic weakness-the paragon of political imbecility. Never since the days of the Amphictyonic councils of 'Greece had the annals of mankind presented a parallel to the farcical absurdities of the Confederation. Think of a government without an executive, without a judiciary, without the power to levy a duty or impose a tax, without ability to inspire respect or enforce obedience, and that is the Confederation. As an organism it had neither head, trunk, limbs, nor vitals. It was an eviscerated myth, a mere shadow, a phantom, a ghost, a political nothing. From 1783 to 1787 the civil powers of the United States were really in a state of chaos; and Washington spoke the truth when he said, in infinite sorrow, that after all the sacrifices of war, the government of his country had become a thing of contempt in the eyes of all nations.
The patriots of the time now came to see that only half of the struggle was over. Through the grey cold morning of doubt dawned the solemn truth that though the war of the Revolution was ended, the war for the Union remained
to be fought. Mere freedom was not enough. In order for freedom to live, it was necessary to build a temple fit for her to dwell in.
It is not needed that I should here recount the deplorable circumstances which drove the Wise men of '87 into the Constitutional Convention. A ruined credit, a bankrupt | treasury, a disordered finance, a crazy constitution, a distracted commerce, a disintegrating people, thirteen ghostly states stalking around like specters in a graveyard and making grimaces at a government of shreds and patchessuch were the goblins that ruled the hour. The Wise men saw and trembled, and so, acting from motives of patriotism and the instinct of self-preservation, they came together to build they knew not what.
It is the truth of history that no greater task was ever imposed upon a body of men than upon the Constitutional Convention of 1787. It was an hour of danger and doubt in the general destinies of the world. The Confederation had ingloriously failed. The people, apparently satisfied with local independence, had grown lethargic, and seemed to be shockingly indifferent to the general interest of the nation. The process of disintegration went on unchecked, and civil liberty was withering from the land.
About fifty of the leading citizens of the United States appeared in the Convention. On assembling, it was the common understanding that the business in hand was the remodeling of the Articles of Confederation. A few leading spirits, such as Washington, Franklin, Charles Pinckney, and Madison, saw further than this; and very soon the issue of making a new Constitution was sprung upon the Convention. Indeed, with the progress of debate, it became more and more evident that no mere revision of the old form of government would suffice for the future of America. Thus all of a sudden, and, as I believe, without any positive previous expectancy on the part of the delegates assembled, the whole question of government-government in the abstract and government in its special application to the wants of the Western continent-arose upon the Convention. Then followed such a clash of opinions and discord of interests as perhaps has never been elsewhere witnessed in a deliberative body. The ball was opened by Edmund Randolph with his "Virginia Plan" of government, and this was immediately followed by Pinckney with his favorite scheme, a part of which was afterwards incorporated in the Constitution. Then came the outbreak of the smaller states. Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, with two out of the three delegates from New York, raised the hue and cry that the small states were to be swallowed up in a great consolidated government-a "monarchy" in which the rights of the people would be utterly engulfed. It was the first public parade of that black and spectral nightmare of American politics-the doctrine of State Rights. Here the line was drawn, and here was planted the seed of the deadly upas.
Vain would it be to enumerate the multifarious schemes and inglorious projects of that Convention. Many of them were wild, extravagant, visionary. Some sprang from ignorance; some from misdirected patriotism; some were puerile and ridiculous. While the Virginia plan and the scheme proposed by Pinckney were both before the Committee of the Whole, the State Rights party, headed by Patterson of New Jersey, and Lansing of New York, brought forward the "New Jersey Plan," by which it was proposed to retain the old Continental Congress and the Confederative Union nearly as they were, and to elect annually a double-headed president; that is, a plural or a dual executive. It was this absurd project which first called Į Alexander Hamilton to his feet. He was at the head of the delegation from New York. Thus far he had remained a silent witness of the vain projects daily hatched in the Con
vention. In answer to the rather puerile speech which Patterson made in defense of his double-barreled presidency, Hamilton walked into the arena and boldly declared his dissent from all the plans thus far submitted. The proceedings here, said he, were of such a sort as to weaken his faith in the expediency of republican institutions. His own reading of history and study of philosophy had led him to admire the British constitution more than any frame of government with which he was acquainted. In the United States, however, where entails and primogeniture were abolished, where no nobility could exist, where property was equally divided, and where the whole genius of the people was adapted to popular forms, the real and only expedient thing for the Convention to do was to constitute such a frame of government as should secure English liberty and English stability under a Republican form. The Constitution of the United States, now to be established, ought to have, and must have, all possible solidity and strength in order that Republican institutions might have a fair chance of surviving, which they certainly would not have if the doctrines recently advocated in the Convention should prevail. He was in favor of a single executive who should hold his office during good behavior, and of a senate whose members should have the same tenure as the president. Hamilton closed his speech by offering for the consideration of the Convention a sketch of that form of government which he should favor. His plan proposed a government of three departments; legislative, executive, judiciary. The legislative department should consist of two branches; an assembly, and a senate. The members of the assembly should be elected for three years by a direct vote of the people. The senators should be selected by electors chosen by a direct vote of the people. The executive should be chosen by electors who were in turn to be chosen by the people, and should hold his office during good behavior. He should have an absolute veto over the acts of Congress. The judiciary should be chosen by the senate, and should consist of a supreme and subordinate courts after the manner subsequently adopted. As to the states, very little was said except that the governors were to be appointed by the chief-magistrate of the Nation.
I bid you mark this plan with care. It has two peculiar features. The first is that the power of the states, in matters of the national government, is absolutely annulled. The dogma of State Rights is utterly sponged out. The word state is only mentioned in the scheme as if to emphasize its subordination to national authority. Secondly, everything is made to rest upon the people. The representatives are to be chosen by the people. The senators are to be named by electors chosen by the people. The president is to be chosen by electors of the people. Everything is as distinctly popular as it is distinctly national. The tenure of the presidency and of the senatorship is not for life, not hereditary, not based on a graduated nobility, not characterized by a single monarchical feature. There is everywhere strength, solidity, equipoise, centralization, unity, but no monarchy.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Constitution proposed by Alexander Hamilton in the Convention of 1787 is the foundation of nationality in the United States. He was the author of that great thought. I do not mean that he originated the concept. The same grand idea had floated through other patriotic brains. Franklin had seen the vision afar. Washington had seen it in the shadows. Edmund Randolph and Madison had seen it through a glass darkly. But with them all, the thought had been vague and undefined, shifting and uncertain. In Hamilton's consciousness it became a living thing—a vision of light and glory. He only of all the Wise men realized the peril and the possibility of the great occasion. He only understood
the past, comprehended the present, and divined the future. He saw as clear as day the one great fact that as between a consolidated Union and no Union at all there was no middle ground. He saw that sovereignty is one and indivisible; and that to talk of sovereign states in a sovereign Union was to utter a political paradox. And so he laid the axe at the root of the tree. He said, down with the state. He said, up with the nation. He neither winced nor stammered. He neither balked nor trembled. He neither paled nor faltered. He walked straight up to the bar of greatness with the step of a conqueror. In the folly and dissensions, the truckling and mental reservations, the cross-purposes and cowardice of the hour, he struck boldly for the solid ground. He rose and stood upon it. O, that his courage had been emulated! O, that his temporizing colleagues had rallied to that impregnable rock! O, that the spirit of unity had triumphed then and there! O, that the genius of nationality had risen from that confused arena with the indivisible banner lifted above the clouds and tempests!
It is not invidious to say that at this perilous epoch in our country's history there was in all America but one man who, by the genius within him and the forces of training, had the ability to carry the Constitution before the bar of The purpose of Hamilton to build an American Nation- the people, to overcome their prejudices, to conquer their ality directly upon the foundation of the people, without hereditary jealousy, to allay their fears, to convince their the intervention of the states, was the grandest project con- judgments, and to rally them to the support of the consoliceived by the statesmanship of the eighteenth century. dated Union. That man was Hamilton. He quietly underHappy had it been for the destinies of America and for the took the cause of the people against themselves. The plan friends of civil liberty throughout the world if Hamilton's adopted was conceived by himself, and his were the merits views could have prevailed in the Constitution of our of the execution. From his office in New York he began country. Just in proportion as they did prevail, just to the the composition and publication of those famous essays in extent that his sound and substantial theories of govern-defense of the Constitution, which will ever remain the ment were incorporated in our fundamental law, just in pride of statesmen and the confusion of demagogues. that degree has the temple of American liberty been founded on a rock. Just in proportion as his views did not prevail, just to the extent that his comprehensive principles of civil government were thrust aside by temporizing expedient and the miserable shufflings and patchwork of compromise, just to that degree have our institutions been imperiled, and the glory of the American name scattered to the winds.
The Federalist was the herald of victory to the supporters of the Constitution, and of overthrow to the reactionary Democracy. The calm and masterly arguments were read by the hearthstone of the Revolutionary veteran, and his brow grew thoughtful. They were read by the young debater in the political club, and the opposition sat silent. They were read in great halls and before assemblies of the people, and no man in the ranks of the disorganizers had the courage to make answer. They were read with astonishment wherever the English tongue was spoken, and were applauded to the echo in the salons of Paris.
The Federal Convention of '87 closed its work, after a four months' session, by adopting and submitting to the people of the states our present frame of government. Gerry, of Massachusetts, and Mason, of Virginia, would In the composition of the Federalist, Hamilton was manot sign it because State Rights were overthrown. Edmund terially aided by Madison and Jay; and it is but fair to say Randolph would not affix his name because the executive that the parts contributed by them, though inferior to the department was so weak and contemptible. Yates and work of the master, are worthy of the highest praise. In Lansing, of New York, had both gone home in disgust be- these great papers, Hamilton had the disadvantage of pleadcause the Convention was trying to establish monarchy.ing the cause of an instrument which he knew to be in some To this day the name of Alexander Hamilton stands alone as the solitary indorsement of the Empire State to the Constitution of the Union.
respects defective; but recognizing the fact that the Constitution was on the whole the best that the spirit of the times would bear, he undertook the advocacy of the great instrument with all the zeal and enthusiasm of his nature; and such was the ability, the candor, the clearness, the profundity and soundness, the breadth and comprehensiveness of his work that the most renowned publicists of our century have conceded it to be without a superior, perhaps without even a parallel among the political writings of the world. Meanwhile elections were held and delegates chosen to
As soon as the work of the great convention was trans- adopt or reject the Constitution. In several states the opmitted to the States, position had a majority, but the principles upon which the opposition rested were already sapped and mined before the assembling of the conventions. The supporters of the consolidated Union had scattered the Federalist into every State. The opposition members of the Convention became the and everything except unconquerable prejudice had given avant-couriers of distrust and antagonism. Wherever way. The State Rights partisans were reduced to the exthey went they cried out, "Overthrow of liberty!" "Tyr-tremity of repeating the senseless outcry of "Centralization? anny reëstablished !" "Centralization!" "Monarchy !" Monarchy!" But the cry had lost its terrors. In MassaThe democracy ran to with vehement declamations. There chusetts and Virginia the battle was long and fiercely conwere no more tobacco plants to be set on the banks of the tested, but the friends of the Union triumphed; at evening James, nor apple-trees to be trimmed in the valley of the it was light. Hamilton's genius never shone more conspicConnecticut. If the Constitution had been at once sub-uously than in the convention of his own State at Poughmitted to the people, it would have been rejected in every keepsie. In the election of delegates to that body every
The influence of Hamilton in giving a final form to the great document was almost as conspicuous and singular as his name. The illustrious Guizot declares that there is not in the Constitution of the United States a single element of order, of force, or of perpetuity which Hamilton did not powerfully contribute to introduce and to make predominant.
Such was the popular horror and fear of the consolidated Union that its chief promoters were regarded, in many parts of the country, with an aversion only equaled by that which the patriots had felt for the ministers and emissaries of George III. Patrick Henry, in a public assembly, cried out with a loud voice addressed to Washington: "Even from that illustrious man who saved us by his valor I will have a reason for his conduct. Who authorized the Convention to say 'We the people,' instead of 'We the States?" Unless this tide of popular prejudice could be stemmed and the apprehensions of the masses quieted by sound argument, it was evident that demagogical appeals would triumph over reason, and that the Constitution so painfully and patiently elaborated would be rejected with disdain.
A storming fury rose
thing had gone against him! Two-thirds of the members had been chosen on a platform of pronounced opposition to the Constitution. Governor Clinton, president of the convention, and many of the most eminent men of the state were arrayed under the enemy's banners. That the great Federalist leader could win over these delegates and gain a sufficient number of votes to secure the adoption of the Constitution seemed beyond the reach of possibility. Day after day he stood up and led the swelling minority. Even when not speaking his thin lips were seen to be constantly moving in silent formulation of arguments that should answer and persuade. With infinite chagrin the opposition saw its majority melting away; and when at last the news came in from the Potomac that the Old Dominion had given her vote for the consolidated Union, Hamilton arose and said: “Virginia has ratified the Constitution. The Union is an accomplished fact. I move that we now cease from our contentions, and add New York to the new empire of republican states." The effect was electrical. Even Governor Clinton voted aye. The Union was an accomplished fact; and the man by whose magnificent powers the grand work had been effected, bore from the smoking arena the laurel crown of triumph.
In the formation of his cabinet Washington tendered the secretaryship of the treasury to Robert Morris. The distinguished banker declined the position, but in doing so suggested to Washington that the one man in the United States who was fitted both by studies and ability to create a public credit and to bring the resources of the country into active efficiency, was Alexander Hamilton. The prediction was fully verified. The immediate success which Hamilton achieved in the face of difficulties which might well have appalled the most courageous spirit, is without a parallel in the history of cabinets.
Hamilton became the real organizer of the new government. Upon the still youthful and elastic form of his old military secretary, Washington rested his powerful hand as on a pillar of support. Besides the pressing and responsible offices of his own department just merging from chaosthe public credit, like Milton's lion, still hanging halfcreated to the ground and "pawing to get free "-Hamilton had to share the counsels of his chief and to bear with him the burdens of the new nation. His state papers issued during the two terms of his service in the cabinet have been pronounced the ablest ever produced by an American secretary. His report on the constitutionality of a national bank, in which he elaborates his favorite theory of the implied powers of the Federal Government, is a masterpiece on that difficult branch of statecraft; and his great thesis on manufactures, embracing in its scope the whole policy of the government, such as he desired it to be, with respect to the multifarious industries of the American people and the necessity of encouraging those industries by protective legislation, is of itself sufficient to establish his rank as the foremost publicist of his epoch.
After retiring from the cabinet, Hamilton was offered the chief justiceship of the United States, but he declined the proffered honor and retired to private life. In his adopted state he soon became the recognized leader of the bar-a leader without a peer or rival. For nine years-broken only by a brief interval in 1798, when he was called from retirement by the now aged Washington to become first major general of the army in the expected war with France-he continued the admiration of his friends and one of the most distinguished citizens of the nation. What the future might have had in store, what influence he might have had upon the destinies of his country, to what high honor that country might have called him, will remain a part of the mystery of that clouded valley which Mirzah saw in his vision.
Of the occasion and the manner of the death of Hamilton
I need not speak. Vain would it be to harrow the sensibilities and passions of our nature by reciting again the story of that malicious, cowardly, devilish murder. Little need to recount the stealthy steps by which Aaron Burr approached his victims, or to emphasize the one prodigious mistake of Hamilton's life in accepting the challenge of that libidinous assassin. For all this anger and sorrow there is but one compensation, and that is that in the eternal justice of things the name of the murderer has been cast out with utter contempt and loathing, while the memory of the murdered statesman has been gently covered with the blessings of his countrymen and the perpetual benediction of history. In the great park of the metropolis of the nation, within sight of the spot where the young collegian, fired with the zeal of boyhood, first raised voice for the rights of man and the freedom of his country, a grateful son, with the encouragement of a grateful people, has lately unveiled a granite statue of his father, while statesmen, orators and poets, fair women and brave men, with applauding hands and cheering voice have honored the memory of the illustrious dead.
It is one of the peculiarities of our times to have revived an interest in Hamilton's character and work. With the subsidence of the tumult of civil war men have begun to look more thoughtfully into the antecedents of the bloody struggle. This fact, more than any other, has brought into clear relief the worth, the grandeur, the glory, of the Hamiltonian Union; and this fact more than any other has made as odious as it deserves to be the pernicious heresy of State Rights and secession. So the defeated but still vital apologists of nullification and disunion, the old disorganizers and their descendants, have gone to malign the memory of Hamilton and defile his work. They say that he was an enemy to American liberty; a bold, bad man; a conspirator against the freedom of his country.
It is averred that Hamilton was a monarchist-a secret foe to Republican institutions-a hater of the simple and severe forms of Democratic government. If this were true, then indeed was he a profound hypocrite and dissembler. For no man could have written the preamble to the Constitution of the United States and defended that instrument in the ablest political papers produced in the eighteenth century, and at the same time have been a secret foe to Republican liberty, unless, his moral character had been on a level with that of Mephistopheles. If we open Hamilton's works--and it would appear that every man might well be judged by the works he leaves on record--we find the charge that he was at heart in favor of introducing kingly rule into the United States utterly and defiantly contradicted. Mark this his indignant language:
"The idea of introducing a monarchy or aristocracy into this country *** * is one of those visionary things that none but madmen could meditate. * But if we incline too much to democracy we shall soon shoot into a monarchy. * The fabric of the American empire ought to rest on the solid basis of the consent of the people; and the streams of national power ought to flow immediately from that pure original fountain of all legitimate authority." Can these words have come from a man who was secretly on the side of kings and princes?
Whence, then, comes the charge that Hamilton was a monarchist? Who is its author? I answer, a political opponent--Jefferson. He it was who niore than all others together gave currency to this view of Hamilton's opinions on the question of government; and from this source have sprung all the charges and innuendoes against the political integrity of one who is said by the historian Niebuhr to have been as great as the greatest of his age. The charge that Hamilton desired the establishment of a monarchy in America is not true. It is a partisan falsehood proceeding