Category Archives: Uncategorized

Michael E. Newton on “Discovering the Earliest Known Records of Alexander Hamilton” and “A “Jest” Gone Wrong: Nicholas Cruger’s “Supposed Duel” on St. Croix”

My talk today at Liberty Hall Museum about about Discovering the Earliest Known Records of Alexander Hamilton and A “Jest” Gone Wrong: Nicholas Cruger’s “Supposed Duel” on St. Croix.

If you have trouble watching the video here, please see the video on Liberty Hall Museum’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/libertyhallmuseum/videos/1803776389648810/

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Big Government and Demagoguery: Are We on the Path to Tyranny?

I recently gave a speech (twice) about how demagogues use the promise of big government to gain power. Here it is:

A “forgotten” essay by Alexander Hamilton? Reasons to be cautious.

Today, Stephen Brumwell presents a “forgotten” essay possibly written by Alexander Hamilton. Brumwell argues “there’s compelling evidence” that Hamilton penned this essay. According to Brumwell:

A long article…appeared on Thursday October 12 in The New-York Packet, and the American Advertiser… The essay of October 12, 1780, which sought to exploit the widespread anger over Arnold’s treason to revitalize the flagging and divided Patriot war-effort, was anonymous, but carried the bold, capitalized pseudonym “PUBLIUS.” Typical for that era, the same piece was swiftly re-published by other newspapers, making the front page of The Pennsylvania Gazette of October 18, 1780 (“From the New York Packet, Fishkill, October 12”) and later surfacing in The Norwich Packet, and the Weekly Advertiser on Tuesday October 24 (“From the Fish Kill Papers”).

Considering this coverage, including a conspicuous slot in one of early America’s best-known newspapers, it is surprising that neither Hamilton’s biographers nor the editors of his writings have noted this article, if only to eliminate it as the work of some other, less celebrated, “Publius.”

Publius, of course, is the pseudonym Hamilton, Madison, and Jay used to write the Federalist essays in 1787–88. Hamilton had also used it in 1778 to criticize Samuel Chase for “allegedly deploying insider knowledge in an unfair – and unpatriotic – bid to monopolize the flour market.” Read Brumwell’s post for this and more evidence he presents.

As I had done in Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years regarding other essays attributed to Hamilton, I decided to do a simple stylometric analysis of this Publius essay, the complete text of which Mr. Brumwell was kind enough to provide in a link. Looking at word length and sentence length compared to known Hamilton essays, here are the results:

Publius1780

It clearly appears based on sentence length that Hamilton did not pen this essay. Although it is possible that Alexander Hamilton chose to write this essay in a different style, this is strong evidence against Hamilton’s authorship.

Of course, I also read this Publius essay and I think it does not read like something Hamilton wrote, but that is just the personal opinion of one person.

Mr. Brumwell also writes of an essay by A.B. that Hamilton may have also authored:

Previously unrecorded, however, is the fact that “A. B.” had also been used by the anonymous author of an article published in Loudon’s newspaper on April 20, 1780. Written at a time when Hamilton was with Washington at Morristown, New Jersey, this essay tackled a topic close to his heart: the worsening state of his country’s finances as the paper currency issued by Congress fueled rampant inflation. In particular, it criticized Congress’s decision of March 18 to fix “Continental money at forty to one.”

“A.B” was the pseudonym Hamilton used for his Continentalist essays and he may have also used it to try to convince British General Henry Clinton to trade Benedict Arnold for John André. Unfortunately, Mr. Brumwell did not provide the complete text of this essay for analysis.

I salute Mr. Brumwell for his great find and surely hope other evidence can be found regarding the authorship of these essays, but until then we must be cautious when trying to attribute anonymous works to certain people without any direct evidence.

Michael E. Newton raises the flag of St. Kitts and Nevis and talks about Alexander Hamilton at Bowling Green in New York City

Every year in July, the flag of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is raised at Bowling Green at the bottom of Broadway in lower Manhattan in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who died on July 12, 1804. This year (2015), the Lower Manhattan Historical Society and the Alexander Hamilton Awareness (AHA) Society invited me to raise the flag and say a few words about Alexander Hamilton.

For the whole story, complete with photos, visit http://michaelenewton.com/michael-e-newton-raises-the-flag-of-st-kitts-and-nevis-and-talks-about-alexander-hamilton-at-bowling-green-in-new-york-city/

It’s Hamiltime! reviews Michael E. Newton’s Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years

It’s Hamiltime!, a blog written by Pooja Nair, associate and litigation lawyer in the Los Angeles office of Foley & Lardner LLP and a Hamilton expert who has spoken on various aspects of Hamilton’s legal career at Federal Hall National Memorial, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, and the Museum of American Finance, has posted the following review of Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years:

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years by Michael E. Newton provides a comprehensive account of Hamilton’s life from 1757 to 1782, including his birth, childhood, education, participation in pre-Revolution politics in New York, and service in the Revolutionary War, both as Washington’s aide-de-camp and as a military leader. The book takes the reader on a detailed journey through the first half of Hamilton’s life. While many historians have lifted some accepted details of Hamilton’s life from past biographers, Newton has taken 4 years to exhaustively research both primary sources and the existing historical record and thus has the perspective to compare contradictions in the record and uncover new information. Newton’s extensive research efforts enable the reader to understand the historiography behind each of the well-known Hamilton legends he covers, and on some occasions, debunks. During the course of his research, Newton has made several new discoveries, some of which are outlined on his website, including information about Hamilton’s arrival in New York, studies at King’s College, and militia service. Newton’s painstaking devotion to the details of Hamilton’s life is apparent in the extensively footnoted text, and the reader is able to come away with a fresh understanding of Hamilton’s early life. Newton takes the time to explain his research and discovery process to the reader, making it clear where sources disagree with each other so that the reader can form her own opinion. Hamilton’s early life was complex, filled with nuances and conflicting motivations that contributed to his later political and personal decisions. AHTFY lays out these events in a way that provides illumination to the reader on the development of Hamilton’s character.”

Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years is scheduled for publication in June 2015. Please support the publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Alexander Hamilton’s arrival in New York City in October 1772

After arriving in Boston in October 1772, Alexander Hamilton had to make his way to New York City. Hamilton probably travelled to New York City on  the stagecoach operated by Nicholas Brown, which advertised itself as the “first Stage Coach which has ever been improved on this road” and promised to “always put up at Houses on the road where the best Entertainment is provided.” One coach left Boston every other Monday and, “after staying a week” in Hartford, arrived in New York on Saturday twelve days after it set out. The stagecoach charged “4d New York or 3d lawful Money per Mile,” a total of about £3 15s New York money or £2 16s lawful money for the entire journey, plus the cost for “Baggage at a reasonable Rate.” If Hamilton arrived in Boston with Hammet on October 18 or if he sailed with Waters and arrived on that same day or earlier, Hamilton could have taken the October 19 stagecoach and would have arrived in New York on October 31.

(Some of this information had previously been reported, but those accounts were full of errors and most of the facts above are indeed new discoveries by the author.)

Citations and additional information will be found in Alexander Hamilton: The Formative Years. Please support publication of this important work by pre-ordering your copy today.

Obama the therapist

Our great President has taken up his new job as a therapist. Bloomberg reports that Obama said:

“We are going to get through this. Things will get better. and we’re going to get there together.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already.