Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the last book I ever read (Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, excerpt fourteen)

from Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow:

In writing an intemperate indictment of John Adams, Hamilton committed a form of political suicide that blighted the rest of his career. As shown with “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” he had a genius for the self-inflicted wound and was capable of marching blindly off a cliff—traits most pronounced in the late 1790s. Gouverneur Morris once commented that one of Hamilton’s chief characteristics was “the pertinacious adherence to opinions he had once formed.”

Hamilton found it hard to refrain from vendettas. He would be devoured by dislike of someone, brood about it, then yield to the catharsis of discharging his venom in print. “The frankness of his nature was such that he could not easily avoid the expression of his sentiments of public men and measures and his extreme candor in such cases was sometimes productive of personal inconveniences,” observed friend Nathaniel Pendleton. Even Eliza in after years conceded that her adored husband had “a character perhaps too frank and independent for a democratic people.”

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