Hamilton Arrives in America

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The Dock at New York

This is how things looked when Hamilton arrived in America. We wonder what he was thinking and compare our conjectures about a truly impressive view no matter what year it is.

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New York Colonial Currency, 10 pounds.

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New Jersey Colonial Currency, 6 pounds.

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New Jersey Colonial Currency, 6 pounds, verso.

The Money He Used

Hamilton would have used Colonial currency. These notes, decorated with royal seals and other images, warn users that “'Tis Death to Counterfeit." Today, there is a very active collector’s market for these historical objects. 

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Boxwood Hall State Historic Site.

Preparation and Enrolling in King’s College

With the generous support of his cousin, Anne Lytton Venton, the talented young Hamilton arrived on the mainland for a proper formal education, which he received at the Academy at Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and at King’s College, now Columbia University. While residing in Elizabethtown, Hamilton lived for some time with the Livingston family, and also frequented the home of Elias Boudinot, now Boxwood Hall. Hamilton studied at Francis Barber's grammar school, now known as the Snyder Academy, a highly respected school. During his time at King’s College in New York City, Hamilton quickly engaged with American politics of the day and encouraged the anti-British feelings with pamphlets he wrote and circulated. As he progressed in his studies, the crisis between the American colonies and England burst into war. 

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Helping a Loyalist

Hamilton’s deep commitment to fairness led him to stop the mob you see here from attacking loyalist Myles Cooper, who was president of King’s College in lower Manhattan. Hamilton's actions enabled Cooper to escape the wrath of protesting crowds. In his earliest known letter while on St. Croix, Hamilton had written to a friend “I wish there was a war…” when the military was the way promising young men might advance to a higher station, which Hamilton wanted to do. A war was now fast approaching.

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This emblem is the logo of the Hearts of Oak, established in 1775.

The Hearts of Oak

The Corsicans was a voluntary militia, formed around 1775 in the Province of New York by men who prepared to fight the British. Hamilton joined The Corsicans, which soon reformed into The Hearts of Oak, and started active military training. Today, the Hearts of Oak Independent Militia Company is a group of re-enactors who have participated in AHA Society events and are always ready to help with special projects.

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Seizing Cannons Under Enemy Fire

When the cannons at the Battery were left unguarded, Hamilton and others saw an opportunity to get them for the American war effort. Led by John Lamb, they went to retrieve them while under fire from British ships in the harbor. 

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King George III Falls Down - With Help

The Declaration of Independence was first read in New York on July 9th, 1776 at the Common, now City Hall Park. Soon after that, the enthusiastic crowd went to Bowling Green where the equestrian statue of the king overlooked the scene. But not for long! Patriots got ropes and together toppled the lead statue. It was sent to Connecticut to use for bullets for the American army. Some parts of the statue, that had gone missing at the time, have since surfaced, including a recent discovery of several pieces on a former loyalist property in Wilton, Connecticut. Those pieces have now become part of historical collections, among them the New-York Historical Society, Wilton Historical Society, and the Museum of the American Revolution.