Monday, June 16, 2008

Editor Walton of the Sentinel confirms that "Handsome Charley" Hamilton is handsome

As I wrote in the FHQ paper, Hamilton's Democratic opponents attacked him viciously, including mocking his pompous word-choice ("gassy Hamilton") and his poor oratorical skills. They also chose to taunt him as "handsome Charley." This backhanded compliment was not intended to be ironic. The critics emphasized Hamilton's good looks as though that were his only feature warranting attention. Walton, the editor of Florida Republican administration's "official" newspaper, chose to respond on Hamilton's behalf:
"'Handsome Charley' Here is another good illustration of the littleness of small minds. The Democratic editors having no other guilt to charge upon the Hon. C. M. Hamilton begin and quarrel with his physical appearance. Well, it should be a consolation to a man to know that he has some pleasing quality. We know several Charleys in this vicinity, two at least, who have not even the qualification of good looks to recommend them, much less any higher excellence. If the face is the mirror of the soul, what a deformity that arrangement of theirs must be!" [Tallahassee Sentinel 11/12/1870]
It should be recalled that this paragraph came out after Hamilton had been defeated by Josiah Walls in his bid to gain the Florida Republican Party's renomination for Congress at the August 1870 convention. Hamilton's graciousness in this defeat brought him much good-will. The Republican press, however, would turn against Hamilton the following year after he publicly exposed Senator Osborn's role in the Great Southern Railroad.
Regarding the Great Southern Railroad scandal, it is interesting to find that in Nov. 1870, Senator Osborn, his brother and president of the GSR, Rev. Osborn, and the GSR's agent, M.H. Alberger had dinner in Jacksonville with Florida's Chief Justice Randall and the reputedly impeccable Jonathan C. Gibbs. [Tallahassee Sentinel 11/26/1870]

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