Author Talks or
Call Janie Guill
Empire for Liberty, LLC
(775) 771-0396 EST
(775) 996-7302 FAX
Bill Chrystal's Hamilton e-Postcards
Every couple of weeks, author Bill Chrystal writes a short essay about Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, or the Founding Era. We send these out FREE to our mailing list. We do not rent, lease, sell or give away our mailing list.
If you would like to join our mailing list, please scroll to the bottom of this page and sign up. Again, it is FREE.
Here is a sample e-Postcard:
Alexander Hamilton didn't talk much about his youth. It wasn't that he had anything to hide. Rather, he was forward-looking—more anxious to focus on present-day issues, than to reflect on what happened years before. We can learn from this. Hamilton didn't look at himself as a victim and wonder "why me?" He didn't dwell on what might have been. Instead, he always looked to the future, doing his best to be part of the solution, not the problem.
Having said this, however, one occasionally finds in Hamilton's writings hints about the past and how it affected him. Take, for example, a sentence in Hamilton's first published pamphlet. Entitled "A Full Vindication of the Members of the Congress," in a discussion of the courts of justice, Hamilton offers the following: "The law ruins many a good honest family."
Written a number of years before he studied law, this comment seems laden with personal meaning. It seems to speak for a young man whose illegitimacy was a matter of law, not justice. His mother’s first husband, John Lavien, was granted a divorce from Hamilton's mother, Rachael, on the Danish island of St. Croix. The terms of the divorce allowed Lavien to remarry but not Rachael. Thus, when Rachael married James Hamilton several years later on the British island of St.Kitts, it was a marriage not recognized by Danish law—a fact made very clear to Rachael when she and her family moved back to St. Croix. Branded a "whore," with "whore children," Rachael lived a difficult life. And when she died, all of her property went to a son fathered by Lavien. Hamilton and his brother received nothing from their mother's estate—not even property she wanted them to have.
"The law ruins many a good honest family." Hamilton's commitment to law and truth are, among other things, rooted in a difficult past. He didn't dwell on it. But he worked all of his life to make sure better laws were written—laws that protected all of the people.