Philip Hamilton was the son and eldest child of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the United States and also the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Philip’s father was an influential statesman, interpreter and promoter of the US Constitution. Alexander was also the founder of the country’s financial system, the United States Coast Guard and the New York Post.
Being the first child of Alexander Hamilton, he had a bright future ahead of him and certainly had great footsteps to fill.
Philip was born on 22 January 1782 in Albany, New York, the son of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. The young Hamilton was named after his mother’s father, Philip Schuyler, a former United States Senator. His parents were very proud of him since his birth, and his father in particular repeatedly expressed excitement and high expectations for his son’s future.
At the age of nine, in 1791, he was sent to a boarding school to study with William Frazer, the then Rector of St. Michael’s Church and episcopal clergyman. The school was located in Trenton, New Jersey. Three years later, in 1794, his younger brother joined him there. During his school years, he wrote frequent letters to his family, and his father also wrote him frequent letters to encourage him. Later, the young Hamilton enrolled at Columbia College (now Columbia University), where his enthusiasm, pedagogical skills and knowledge were compared to that of his father – a distinguished graduate of the school.
Philip graduated with honours in 1800 and then studied law – proof that he was indeed destined for great things. His father was very supportive of his son’s career path and set up study routines that were described as rigorous. The study routine included waking up at 6 am every morning from April to September to study; Philip was allowed to get up at 7 am every other day for the rest of the year. This strict routine proved to be very helpful to Philip and strengthened the bond between Philip and his father.
Philip Hamilton’s Siblings
Philip had seven siblings, although unfortunately, he did not meet his youngest sibling Philip – who was named after him. His parents had a total of eight children; Philip, born 1782; Angelica, born 25 September 1784 and very close to her older brother; Alexander jr. born 16 May 1786; John Church born 22 August 1792; William Stephen born 4 August 1797 and Eliza born 20 November 1799.
When Philip died in 1801, his mother was pregnant with another child, a boy they named after the late Philip. The fact that Alexander Hamilton had two sons named Philip is always a source of constant confusion. The younger Philip was born on 1 or 2 June 1802.
Philip Hamilton’s Death; How He Died
It all began on 4 July 1801 when George Eacker (a New York lawyer and Freemason) gave a speech at Columbia University and criticised Alexander Hamilton in his speech. He made some very outrageous statements in his speech and accused Alexander Hamilton, among other things, of wanting to return to the monarchy.
When the speech was published, Philip Hamilton read it out. Since he is a man of pride and honour, he was understandably upset and offended by Eacker’s words.
In November of the same year, four months later, Philip and Richard Price (a friend of Philip’s) went to the Park Theatre to see a play; there they met George Eacker, and Philip confronted George with his speech. The confrontation was loud, hostile and disrupted the entire theatre. This led George to murmur that both Phillip and Richard Price were “villains”; in those days the term “villain” was very disrespectful and impudent and had dishonourable undertones. This prompted the two of them to challenge George to a duel.
According to various sources, Alexander tried to help his son out of the duel by trying to convince him to dope himself instead. Going to Delope meant throwing away the first shot.
George Eacker faced Richard Price and Philip Hamilton separately He duelled Price the day after the challenge in the theatre – in this duel nobody was injured or wounded. George fought Philip the day after his duel with Price. The duel took place in Weehawken, New Jersey.