To James Monroe1
[Philadelphia] July 20. 1797
In my last letter to you2 I proposed a simple and direct question, to which I had hoped an answer equally simple and direct. That which I have received,3 though amounting, if I understand it, to an answer in the negative, is conceived in such circuitous terms as may leave an obscurity upon the point which ought not to have remained. In this situation, I feel it proper to tell you frankly my impression of the matter.
The having any communication with Clingman, after that with me, receiving from him and recording information depending on the mere veracity of a man undeniably guilty of subornation of perjury, and one whom the very documents which he himself produced to you shewed sufficiently to be the accomplice of a vindictive attempt upon me,* leaving it in a situation where by possibility, it might rise up at a future and remote day to inculpate me, without the possibility perhaps from the lapse of time of establishing the refutation, and all this without my privity or knowlege, was in my opinion in a high degree indelicate and improper. To have given or intended to give the least sanction or credit after all that was known to you, to the mere assertion of either of the three persons Clingman Reynolds or his wife would have betrayed a disposition towards me which if it appeared to exist would merit epithets the severest that I could apply.
With consideration I am Sir Your very humble serv
James Monroe Esqr
ADfS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. This letter is document No. XXXIX in the appendix to the printed version of the “Reynolds Pamphlet,” August 25, 1797. For background to this letter, see the introductory note to Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to H, July 3, 1797. See also Monroe to H, July 17, 18, 1797; H to Monroe, July 17, 18, 1797.
4. The letter reads: “I hope I have not forfeited your friendship, the last night’s conversation, dont think any thing of it, for I was not myself. I know I have treated ******** friend ill, and too well I am convinced (Here about three lines are torn out.) to have satisfaction from Him at all events, and you onely I trust too. I will See you this evening, he has offered to furnish me and mrs. reynolds with money to carry us off. If I will go, he will see that Mrs. Reynolds has money to follow me, and as for Mr. Francis, he sas he will make him swear back what he has said, and will turn him out of office. This is all I can say till I see you.
“I am, dear Clingman, believe me, forever your sincere friend.” (Callender, History description begins James Thompson Callender, The History of the United States for 1796; Including a Variety of Interesting Particulars Relative to the Federal Government Previous to That Period (Philadelphia: Snowden and McCorkle, 1797). description ends , 221.)