CHARLESTOWN: Every Nevisian should know that in Alexander Hamilton they have a countryman who defied all odds and transcended poverty and social prejudice, Acting Premier of Nevis and Minister of Culture Mark Brantley said during a celebration honouring Hamilton’s birthday.
The event, which was hosted by the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) on January 10, was held on the grounds of the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis more than 200 years ago. At the same time a similar ceremony was taking place in New York and was attended by Premier of Nevis Vance Amory. Both events were connected via the Internet.
“The life of Hamilton, for me, is irrefutable evidence of the oft-stated truism that it matters little where we are from or the circumstances into which we are born. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he is from but where he is headed.
“Our people in Nevis and in particular our children should know that in Hamilton, we have a Nevisian who defied all odds, who transcended poverty and social prejudice, who rose meteorically above the station of his birth. His life and work and achievements should act as a sign post for us all that we are limited not by the size of our island but only by the size of our ambitions,” said Brantley.
Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis and later became one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and a Chief of Staff to General George Washington, who later became the first President of the U.S. He later became one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution; the founder of the American financial system and the driving force behind the first American political party.
Brantley said the celebration of Hamilton’s birth in Nevis and the United States should be seen as a time for reflection when those gathered gave praise for his birth, his life and the contributions he made to the world.
“Let us use this opportunity to renew and strengthen the bonds of friendship that have always bound the people of Nevis and the people of the United States of America.
“Alexander Hamilton provides us an umbilical cord between the narrow-winding lanes of Nevis and the broad highways of America as old as the United States of America itself. For over two centuries now, his life and legacy have provided a bridge between the peoples of this little island and the peoples of the great American nation.
“So my friends here assembled and those gathered in New York, let us today remember our shared son Hamilton and let us pledge to spare no effort in ensuring that the bridge his life provides between Nevis and the United States remains ever sturdy, ever strong, everlasting,” he said.
Evelyn Henville, Executive Director of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), also lauded the achievements of Hamilton, who she reminded had never forgotten the fact that he had Caribbean roots.
“From a boy on Nevis, to the end of his days, Alexander Hamilton gave his best thought and energy. Hamilton’s Caribbean roots have been undervalued by many who have not even taken the time to read something about his life.
“Make no mistake about it, Hamilton’s life experiences on Nevis and St. Croix prepared the way for his future and it was, as Hamilton told his own children, the most useful part of his education. In a letter to his wife, he referred to himself as a ‘Creole’.
“Hamilton had embraced his island roots,” she said.