I came late to the Hamilton party; my daughter and my wife both became fans a long time before I finally got on board. In the last couple of weeks since buying the download, I’ve listened to the soundtrack in its entirety about five times. Based on that short-term exposure, I’d like to take the opportunity to shed a little light on the lives of three characters from the musical that may be overlooked.
Mulligan is one of my favorite characters in Hamilton. Besides the cool name and important part he plays in defeating the British, the performer who plays him adds a lot of energy to the production. Mulligan was actually about fifteen years older than Alexander Hamilton, and took Hamilton into his home shortly after he arrived on the mainland.
Mulligan ran a tailor shop in New York that sold uniforms and other clothing to the British Army and its officers, and was married to a British woman. He was also part of the Culper Ring, George Washington’s group of spies featured in the AMC series Turn. The CIA has a page devoted to Hercules Mulligan on their website because of his skill and bravery in fooling the British.
On at least two occasions, Mulligan foiled British plans to kidnap George Washington. He sent his slave Cato, who was known to many of the British soldiers through Mulligan’s tailor shop, across enemy lines to deliver warnings to Washington. Despite having been a slave owner at one time, Mulligan joined Hamilton years later in calling for an end to slavery.
In Hamilton, Laurens is portrayed as a vocal opponent of slavery, which is true. According to Wikipedia, Laurens’ father ran one of the largest slave trading companies in the country and later became President of the Continental Congress. Laurens reportedly showed “reckless courage,” dying in battle in 1882.
There are rumors that Laurens and Hamilton were lovers prior to Hamilton’s marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler.
Angelica, Eliza….and Peggy. Unfortunately, Hamilton doesn’t give Peggy much to do, but she had more of a relationship with Alexander Hamilton than the musical lets on. This piece from Mental Floss provides several items proving that Peggy Schuyler could have been more than a background role.
photo credit: Hamilton The Musical via photopin (license)