All of you might recognize me from the ten-dollar bill and being one of the delegates that helped write the U.S. Constitution. From you reaction, I sense that you don’t recognize me. Perhaps I should tell you more about myself.
I was born in the island of Nevis in the British West Indies on the 11th of January 1755. My father was James Hamilton, a Scottish merchant of St. Christopher. My mother was Rachael Fawcett Levin. Heavy burdens fell upon me during my childhood. Business failures caused my father to become bankrupt. Soon after, my mother died in 1768. At twelve years old, I entered the counting house of David Beekmen. I served as a clerk and an apprentice. When I was a teenagers, I had a few opportunities for regular schooling. However, I was very knowledgeable of French due to the teaching of my late mother. I was first published in the royal Danish-American gazette. Impressed by this, an opportunity to gain my education was provided by family friends. I arrived at the grammar school in Elizabethtown, New Jersey in the autumn of 1772. One year later, in 1774, I graduated and entered king’s college in New York City. There, I obtained a bachelor’s of arts degree in just one year.
As the war of independence began, I took a trip to Boston, which solidified my loyalties with the colonists. I made a sensational speech attacking British policies, at a mass meeting in New York City. On March 14th, 1776, I was captain of a company of artillery set up by the New York providential congress. The proficiency and bravery that I displayed around New York City impressed General Washington. I joined Washington’s personal staff in March of 1777 and I was given the title lieutenant colonel. I served four years as Washington’s personal secretary and confidential aide.
At twenty-seven, when the revolutionary war was over, I began a non-military career. After three month of intensive study of the law in Albany, New York, I was admitted to the bar in July of 1783.