Yet Hamilton lives, although the victim of his rival. He lives in the nation’s heart, which cannot forget his matchless services. He is still the admiration of our greatest statesmen; he is revered, as Webster is, by jurists and enlightened patriots. No statesman superior to him has lived in this great country. He was a man who lived in the pursuit of truth, and in the realm of great ideas; who hated sophistries and lies, and sought to base government on experience and wisdom.
“Great were the
boons which this pure patriot gave,
Doomed by his rival to an early grave;
A nation’s tears upon that grave were shed.
Oh, could the nation by his truths be led!
Then of a land, enriched from sea to sea,
Would other realms its earnest following be,
And the lost ages of the world restore
Those golden ages which the bards adore.”
Hamilton’s Works; Life of Alexander Hamilton, by J. T. Morse, Jr.; Life and Times of Hamilton, by S. M. Smucker; W. Coleman’s Collection of Facts on the Death of Hamilton; J. G. Baldwin’s Party Leaders; Dawson’s Correspondence with Jay; Bancroft’s History of the United States; Parton’s Life and Times of Aaron Burr; Eulogies, by H. G. Otis and Dr. Nott; The Federalist; Lives of Contemporaneous Statesmen; Sparks’s Life of Washington.
The Adams family—on the whole the most illustrious in New England, if we take into view the ability, the patriotism, and the high offices which it has held from the Revolutionary period—cannot be called of patrician descent, neither can it viewed as peculiarly plebeian. The founder was a small farmer in the town of Braintree, of the Massachusetts Colony, as far back as 1636, whose whole property did not amount to L100. His immediate descendants were famous and sturdy Puritans, characterized by their thrift and force of character.
The father of John Adams, who died in 1761, had an estate amounting to nearly L1,500, and could afford to give a college education at Harvard to his eldest son, John, who was graduated in 1755, at the age of twenty, with the reputation of being a good scholar, but by no means distinguished in his class of twenty-four members. He cared more for rural sports than for books. Following the custom of farmers’ sons, on leaving college he kept a school at Worcester before he began his professional studies. His parents wished him to become a minister, but he had no taste for theology, and selected the profession of law.