Illustration from AMERICAN EXAMINER, 1910
from the Dave Thomson collection
|Alexander Hamilton was a conspicuously high-principled
man. He regarded dueling as wrong, and as opposed to the teachings of religion--but
in deference to public opinion he fought a duel. He deeply loved his family,
but to buy public approval he treacherously deserted them and threw his
life away, ungenerously leaving them to lifelong sorrow in order that he
might stand well with a foolish world. In the then condition of the public
standards of honor he could not have been comfortable with the stigma upon
him of having refused to fight. The teachings of religion, his devotion
to his family, his kindness of heart, his high principles, all went for
nothing when they stood in the way of his spiritual comfort. A man will
do anything, no matter what it is, to secure his spiritual comfort; and
he can neither be forced nor persuaded to any act which has not that goal
for its object. Hamilton`s act was compelled by the inborn necessity of
contenting his own spirit; in this it was like all the other acts of his
life, and like all the acts of all men`s lives. Do you see where the kernel
of the matter lies? A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
He will secure the largest share possible of that, at all costs, all sacrifices.
- "What Is Man?"
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