by Rhonda D. "Lexi" Conn, CPW News Service
On October 19, 2015 Australian historian and author of Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Shane White, presented a succinct and enlightening summary of his book on the life of little known Wall Street broker, Jeremiah G. Hamilton, friend of Benjamin Day, Frederick Douglass and a host of New York power elites.
Shane White was clear that Hamilton, the richest black man in America, had battled with Cornelius Vanderbilt over the Nicaraguan transit company, Accessory Transit Company, though according to event attendee, Lowell P. Wigglesworth, "Shane White said nothing about William Walker's interest in Nicaragua after he had flubbed the annexation of Baja, California and moved on to the annexation of Nicaragua with the support of President Franklin Pierce," said Wigglesworth. The death of Walker in Honduras cleared away Vanderbilt's competition which according to Wigglesworth "Vanderbilt associates Morgan and White were put in charge of while Vanderbilt sailed the world on his yacht North Star." Walker's battle with Vanderbilt would have put Jeremiah G. Hamilton on the side of the Franklin Pierce supporter of unrepentant slaver and German educated mercenary William Walker, but with a decidedly stronger connection to the blacks of the South as a black man and to the slave and free population of the Caribbean. Vanderbilt, himself a slaver, did not have the equivalent of Hamilton in his quiver of personal allies and though from Staten Island, while being philosophically a died in the wool Southerner, was not apt to cross over the color barrier as the New York and New England power elites did to gain the advantage for their true motives for the upcoming Civil War. It was said that Vanderbilt did not fear Hamilton, but fearing no man, respected him. Yes, and those who were behind Hamilton."
Given Hamilton's and William Walker's connections the Vanderbilt battle with Hamilton and Walker over the California coast and Central American trade routes from the Pacific to Atlantic shows us a battle within the New England merchantile elite China Traders for greater wealth and power.
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Wigglesworth has written extensively about the place that Franklin Pierce, Caleb Cushing and the Confederacy's President, Jefferson Davis, played in the rush of the New England and New York "China Traders" to the Pacific Ocean and the Middle Eastern opium trade beyond. "Jeremiah Hamilton was a friend of Frederick Washington Bailey....well documented in the 1999 book by Stanford University archeologist, Thomas Layton, Voyage of the Frolic: New England Merchants and the Opium Trade (Stanford University Press)...who changed his name to Frederick Douglass the anti-slave orator who had worked at Baltimore's Gardner Shipyard laying the hulls of the China trader's fastest opium clippers of which Frolic had been one before it wrecked in 1850 north of San Francisco," said Wigglesworth.
"Oddly, Shane White had a brain fart (at 31:00 of the CSPAN video) when it came to remembering the brother-in-law of Jeremiah Hamilton's best friend, Benjamin Day. Day, the publisher of the New York Sun, was brother-in-law of Moses Yale Beach, the name White could not remember. I wanted to stand and shout to Mr. White from the back of the room, but then I thought, 'why embarrass him or blow his cover if he's feeling like he's made enough of a disclosure already and smoothly recovered?", said Wigglesworth.
Wigglesworth penned on a napkin a flow chart of the connections of Hamilton and Day that he said were "essential to fully understanding what Shane White is trying to say about Hamilton, Day, Beach and even James Gordon Bennett, the New York yacht club Commodore and friend of the intermarried Whitneys and Vanderbilts." He also referred to an article on the relationship of John Hay "Jock" Whitney to molding of Southern memories following the Civil War by his underwriting the film version of Smith College graduate, Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone With the Wind, and about the relationship of Civil War historian, Shelby Foote, to Union Admiral Andrew Hull Foote in Shelby Foote and Walker Percy: No Longer Lost In The Cosmos.
"I believe that William Walker was supported by Franklin Pierce in his attempt to control Baja and Nicaragua for the same reason that in the 1980's we still see the Pierce family.....Barbara Pierce Bush....eyeing under the umbrella of the Monroe Doctrine the control of Nicaragua and Honduras. Jeremiah Hamilton's support as a former freedman from the Caribbean who was using many of the same Wall Street ploys that would find a renaissance of Tammany Hall tactics after the repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act by the Clinton administration, thus opening the floodgates to the Bush bamboozlers of 2000-2008. That repeal earned Clinton 'another Bush boy' designation. By 2008 the bailout of Wall Street showed us their real hand. Jeremiah Hamilton was not really the 'Prince of Darkness.' There were lighter skinned individuals for which that title should be reserved. Hamilton was a Duke of Darkness," said Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth believes that Bill Clinton's recent defense of Franklin Pierce relative to the U.S. Civil War, the first at his alma mater, Georgetown University in 2015 and the second at his first solo defense of Hillary as a Presidential candidate in January 2016, deflects attention from the real role that Franklin Pierce, Caleb Cushing and Jefferson Davis had relative to hiding the true motive for the U.S. Civil War....the control of the flatland rail route from Savannah, Georgia to San Diego, California. "It was a drug deal gone really bad and William Walker is surely a direct descendant of the George Herbert Walker Bush clan," said Wigglesworth as he handed this author his napkin in front of the Chase Bank across East 79th Street that had hurriedly omitted the Vanderbilt connections to the China Trade and to Jeff Davis' closest associates in the Confederacy, Braxton and Thomas Bragg, Braxton being William Tecumseh Sherman's pre-Civil War business partner, with both Braggs attending Cornelius Vanderbilt's wedding to Confederate socialite, Frank Armstrong Crawford, in Mobile, Alabama in 1869.
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Wigglesworth recommended reading the article by Flavius Ruckleshouseman, Dark Side of the Fall for a fuller understanding of the coffee stained napkin and drawing. The place of Wigglesworth in exploring the connections between Caleb Cushing, Franklin Pierce and Jefferson Davis were further explored by another Winsip Custer article by author Ishmael Sol Servaivor and Custer's own article has also covered extensively the North/South pursuit of the transcontinental rail route to the Pacific's opium connection in Cain Cushing and Abel Brown.