Friday, December 01, 2006
Engraving of Hamilton
Through Googlebooks, I just found a fairly substantial contemporary biography of Hamilton in "The Fortieth Congress of the United States: Historical and Biographical," by William Horatio Barnes, (1870). While there is nothing new of significance in this portrait, it does include an engraving obviously derived from the one of the Brady studio "official" photographs. It is likely that Barnes solicited the biographical questionnaire notes found in the Florida archives. Barnes does include a few interesting sentences that certainly warrant quoting in this blog. After Hamilton joined the Veteran Reserves Corps, Barnes writes that "Lieutenant Hamilton's tall and soldierly appearance and superior qualifications attracted the notice of his superior officers, and he was given an appointment on the staff of General Martindale, Military Governor of the District of Columbia (Barnes, 244). Discussing Hamilton's responsibilities as Bureau officer, Barnes writes that "No officer of the bureau in the State of Florida identified himself more thoroughly with these great ends of official duty than Colonel Hamilton. His reputation for efficiency and just administration was so wide-spread that the poor and oppressed, ignorant that State lines could interpose an obstacle in their way, came hundreds of miles, out of the lower borders of Alabama, to lay their grievances before his tribunal." Following his "unanimous" nomination for Congress at the Republican State Convention on Feb. 25, 1868: "In the canvass that followed the zeal and eloquence with which he addressed the people was inspired by the desire as much for the adoption of the State constitution as the palladium of freedom and equal rights, as for his own election." Barnes includes a lengthy quote from the "Florida Union": "Col Hamilton received the nomination of the party and secured its vote at the election in May, on the double ground of fitness for the position, and of his services in behalf of his party; his consistent course as a radical Republican, in all matters involving political questions, and his unwearied and successful exertions in behalf of Union men and freedmen while an officer of the bureau at Marianna. During his few weeks in Congress last spring, he took a prominent and active part for so young a member, and comes back to his constituents with a good record and without reproach."
UPDATE: reproductions of the Hamilton engraving [Digital ID: 1250164] are available for purchase from the New York Public Library through the "Digital Gallery" section of its www.nypl.org website.