Sunday, July 26, 2015

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

from Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow:

When they learned of Hamilton’s illness, George and Martha Washington sent sympathy notes and six bottles of vintage wine. “With extreme concern, I receive the expression of your apprehensions that you are in the first stages of the prevailing fever,” the president wrote to Hamilton. Quite different was the response of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote a misguided letter to Madison that accused Hamilton of cowardice, hypochondria, and fakery: “His family think him in danger and he puts himself so by his excessive alarm. He had been miserable several days before from a firm persuasion he should catch it. A man as timid as he is on the water, as timid on horseback, as timid in sickness, would be a phenomenon if his courage, of which he has the reputation in military occasions, were genuine. His friends, who have not seen him, suspect it is only an autumnal fever he has.” At one stroke, Jefferson heaped heartless abuse on a sick man and inverted reality. Not only did Hamilton have yellow fever, but he had shown outstanding valor during the Revolution while Jefferson, as Virginia governor, had cravenly fled into the woods before the advancing British troops.

No comments:

Post a Comment