Alexander Hamilton Biography
"Colo. Alexander Hamilton (New York) is deservedly celebrated for his talents. He is a practitioner of the Law, and reputed to be a finished Scholar. To a clear and strong judgment he unites the ornaments of fancy, and whilst he is able, convincing, and engaging in his eloquence the Heart and Head sympathize in approving him. Yet there is something too feeble in his voice to be equal to the strains of oratory;--it is my opinion that he is rather a convincing Speaker, that [than] a blazing Orator. Colo. Hamilton requires time to think,--he enquires into every part of his subject with the searchings of phylosophy, and when he comes forward he comes highly charged with interesting matter, there is no skimming over the surface of a subject with him, he must sink to the bottom to see what foundation it rests on.--His language is not always equal, sometimes didactic like Bolingbroke's at others light and tripping like Stern's. His eloquence is not so delusive as to trifle with the senses, but he rambles just enough to strike and keep up the attention. He is about 33 years old, of small stature, and lean. His manners are tinctured with stiffness, and sometimes with a degree of vanity that is highly disagreeable." -- Character Sketches of Delegates to the Federal Convention by William Pierce (1787)
The name of Hamilton, the pure patriot, the brave soldier, the accomplished statesman, and acute financier, there is a halo which brightens With the lapse of years, for he was peerless among his fellows. He was a native of the island of Nevis, in the "West Indies, and was descended from a Scotch father and a French mother. He was born on the 11th of January, 1755. He received a fair education in childhood, and at the age of twelve years he became a clerk in the mercantile house of Nicholas Cruger, at St. Croix. Every leisure moment he devoted to study; and while yet a mere youth, a production of his pen give such evidence of great genius, that the friends of his widowed mother providsd ra3ans for sending him to New York to be thoroughly educated. At the age of sixteen years he accompanied his mother to the United States, and entered King's (now Columbia) College as a student, where he remained about three years. The contest of words, with Great Britaiil, was then raging, and gave sops to his thoughts and topics for his pen. "When only seventeen years of age he appeared as a speaker at public meetings, and he assisted the Sons of Liberty in carrying off British cannon from the battery of Fort George, at the foot of Broidwav, in 1775. He entered the army as captain of an artillery company, raised chiefly by himself; and performed good service at "White Plains, Trenton, and Princeton. His pen was as active as his sword, and many articles, attributed to more mature and eminent men, were the ofispring of his brain.
SOURCE: Eminent Americans - By Benson J. Lossing (Published 1886)