During the summer of 1772 a young 17-year-old clerk was toiling in the West Indies on the Island of St. Croix. He had been born in poverty, but even at his young age had risen to be given responsibilities of management at the firm he clerked for. On August 31, 1772 as a powerful hurricane roared through the region. The clerk wrote a letter describing the storm that said in part: “It’s impossible for me to describe or you to form any idea of it. It seemed as if a total dissolution of nature was taking place.
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