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Hamilton Exposes His Adultery: The Infamous Reynolds Pamphlet
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“The charge against me is a connection with one James Reynolds for purposes of improper pecuniary speculation. My real crime is an amorous connection with his wife, for a considerable time with his privity and connivance, if not originally brought on by a combination of the husband and wife with the design to extort money from me.This confession is not made without a blush… I can never cease to condemn myself for the pang, which it may inflict in a bosom eminently intitled to all my gratitude, fidelity and love…. The public too will I trust excuse the confession. The necessity of it to my defence against a more heinous charge could alone have extorted from me so painful an indecorum.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Pamphlet. Observations on Certain Documents Contained in “The History of the United States for the Year 1796,” in Which the Charge of Speculation Against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted. Written by Himself. Philadelphia: Printed for John Fenno, by John Bioren, 1797. Gathered signatures, string-tied as issued. Early ink ownership signature of George M. Thompson on title page.

Inventory #24839       Price: $28,000

When Reynolds’ accusations were published by James Callender in 1797, Hamilton responded by admitting the affair, publishing his entire correspondence with Reynolds, and denying all charges of financial misconduct. While successful in its main purpose of saving his public character, it destroyed any hope of a further political career on the national stage, provided salacious ammunition for his enemies, and caused a serious breach with his wife and family. Eliza reportedly purchased and destroyed as many copies as she could, making this a rare survival. 

“I dare appeal to my immediate fellow citizens of whatever political party for the truth of the assertions that no man ever carried into public life a more unblemished pecuniary reputation, than that with which I undertook the office of Secretary of the Treasury; a character marked by a indifference to the acquisition of property rather than by an avidity for it. … Without the slightest foundation, I have been repeatedly held up to the suspicions of the world as a man directed in his administration by the most sordid views; who did not scruple to sacrifice the public to his private interest, his duty and honor to the sinister accumulation of wealth.

“Merely because I retained an opinion once common to me and the most influencial of those who opposed me, That the public debt ought to be provided for on the basis of the contract upon which it was created, I have been wickedly accused with wantonly increasing the public burthen many millions, in order to promote a stock-jobbing interest of myself and friends...

“The officers and books of the treasury were examined. The transactions between the several banks and the treasury were scrutinized. Even my private accounts with those institutions were laid open to the committee; and every possible facility given to the inquiry. The result was a complete demonstration that the suspicions which had been entertained were groundless.”

See here for the entire transcript.

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