Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to James Reynolds, 15 December 1791

To James Reynolds

[Philadelphia, December 15, 1791. In the “Reynolds Pamphlet” description begins Alexander Hamilton, Observations on Certain Documents Contained in No. V and VI of “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). description ends Hamilton wrote: “The same day, being the 15th of December 1791, I received from Mr. Reynolds the letter … by which he informs me of the detection of his wife.… In answer to this I sent him a note, or message desiring him to call upon me at my office, which I think he did the same day.…”1 Hamilton’s letter of December 15, 1791, not found.]

1The conversation between H and Reynolds is described by H as follows:

“He in substance repeated the topics contained in his letter, and concluded as he had done there, that he was resolved to have satisfaction.

“I replied that he knew best what evidence he had of the alleged connection between me and his wife, that I neither admitted nor denied it—that if he knew of any injury I had done him, intitling him to satisfaction, it lay with him to name it.

“He travelled over the same ground as before, and again concluded with the same vague claim of satisfaction, but without specifying the kind, which would content him. It was easy to understand that he wanted money, and to prevent an explosion, I resolved to gratify him. But willing to manage his delicacy, if he had any, I reminded him that I had at our first interview made him a promise of service, that I was disposed to do it as far as might be proper, and in my power, and requested him to consider in what manner I could do it, and to write to me. He withdrew with a promise of compliance.” (“Reynolds Pamphlet,” August 31, 1797.)

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