OFF OF THE CHARACTER OF CONGRESS
[A LETTER TO GEORGE WASHINGTON]
A SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD lad from the West Indies mounted a platform in New York City and stirred his townsmen with a speech about their grievances against Britain. Shortly after, while still a student at King's College (now Columbia University), he wrote two anonymous political pamphlets so brilliant that they were attributed to John Jay. He contributed sharp satires and cool, argumentative articles to the newspapers. At eighteen he was renowned throughout the colonies.
Alexander Hamilton was short, slight, ruddy-complexioned, and a man of great personal charm. When the Revolutionary War opened, he joined the army, soon achieving the rank of captain of artillery. In 1777 he became Washington's aide-de-camp and personal secretary. Washington and Hamilton rapidly developed a close and lasting friendship. During his presidency, Washington depended almost solely on Hamilton for advice. In fact, Hamilton wrote most, if not all, of Washington's Farewell Address.
Just one year after Hamilton joined Washington's personal staff, he could no longer stomach the machinations of the Continental Congress. Hampered by sectionalism and pride in everything they did, the Congressmen managed to aggravate the unhappy condition of the warring nation. In disgust at their carryings-on, Hamilton, already seeing the need for strong centralization of authority, dispatched this letter to Washington:
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Publication information: Book title: A Second Treasury of the World's Great Letters:A Mixed Mailbag Including Intimate Exchanges and Cycles of Correspondence by Famed Men and Women of History and the Arts. Contributors: Wallace Brockway - Editor, Bart Keith Winer - Editor. Publisher: Simon & Schuster. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1941. Page number: 241.
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