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CHAP. xv.]



We believe Hamilton was earnest and honest in his political principles. If he stooped, when his inner views were publicly sought, to

“ with a tricksy word, Defy the matter;"

if he attempted to induce the public to take the substance by disguising the name, it was because he thought such resorts were necessary to induce the multitude he scorned to submit to that good government which he verily believed he was preparing for them. Clothed with supreme power, he would probably have made a just prince. Under a tyranny, he might have proved a conspirator. The features of Hampden and the features of Strafford blend strangely in his political physiognomy. But those of the latter largely predominate. If he had none of the originating power of a Franklin or Jefferson, he would probably have rendered himself conspicuous in any age or under any government. Such minds as Franklin's and Jefferson's come but once in a century. Such minds as Hamilton's are common in every generation. They belong to the ambitious, energetic, talented class who push their way upward to high office, who wield authority with success, who perhaps fill fame's trumpet with their reputations as generals or prime ministers, who receive honorable mention on the historic page, but who pass away without having contributed a new thought, or a meliorating fact to the currents of human civilization.

We have thought it would tend to a clearer view of affairs in the Cabinet, and subsequently, to present an outline of Hamilton's character in advance of the facts on which much of our view rests. No one will be asked to receive that view, or any part of it, except so far as it is supported by unsuspected and decisive testimony. We certainly will ask no credit for a line of the latter from unfriendly or prejudiced quarters; and, indeed, almost the only testimony offered will be Hamilton's own, and in his own words.


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