No. I. (a)
Philadelphia, 13th of December, 1792.
Jacob Clingman being a clerk in my employment, and becoming involved in a prosecution commenced against James Reynolds, by the comptroller of the treasury, on a charge or information exhibited before Hillary Baker, Esq. one of the aldermen of this city, for subornation of perjury, whereby they had obtained money from the treasury of the United States, he (Clingman) applied to me for my aid and friendship on behalf of himself and Reynolds, to get them released or discharged from the prosecution. I promised, so far as respected Clingman, but not being particularly acquainted with Reynolds, in a great measure declined, so far as respected him. In company with Col. Burr, I waited on Col. Hamilton, for the purpose, and particularly recommended Clingman, who had hitherto sustained a good character. Col. Hamilton signified a wish to do all that was consistent. Shortly after I waited on the comptroller, for the same purpose, who seemed to have difficulties on the subject; and from some information I had, in the mean time, received, I could not undertake to recommend Reynolds; as I verily believed him to be a rascal; which words I made use of to the comptroller. On a second interview with the comptroller, on the same subject, the latter urged the propriety of Clingman’s delivering up a certain list of money due to individuals, which Reynolds and Clingman were said to have in their possession, and of his informing him of whom, or thro’ whom, the same was obtained from the public offices: on doing which, Clingman’s request might, perhaps, be granted with greater propriety. This, Clingman, I am informed, complied with, and also refunded the money or certificates which they had improperly obtained from the treasury. After which, I understand the action against both was withdrawn, and Reynolds discharged from imprisonment, without any further interference of mine whatsoever. During the time this business was thus depending, and which lasted upwards of three weeks, Clingman, unasked, frequently dropped hints to me, that Reynolds had it in his power, very materially to injure the secretary of the treasury, and that Reynolds knew several very improper transactions of his. I paid little or no attention to those hints, but when they were frequently repeated, and it was even added that Reynolds said, he had it in his power to hang the secretary of the treasury, that he was deeply concerned in speculation, that he had frequently advanced money to him (Reynolds) and other insinuations of an improper nature, it created considerable uneasiness on my mind, and I conceived it my duty to consult with some friends on the subject—Mr. Monroe and Mr. Venable were informed of it yesterday morning.
Signed by Mr. Muhlenberg.
No. II. (a)
Philadelphia, 13th December, 1792.
Being informed yesterday in the morning, that a person of the name of Reynolds, from Virginia, Richmond, was confined in the jail, upon some criminal prosecution, relative to certificates, and that he had intimated, he could give some intelligence of speculations by Mr. Hamilton, which should be known, we immediately called on him, as well to be informed of the situation of the man, as of those other matters, in which the public might be interested. We found it was not the person, we had been taught to believe, but a man of that same name from New-York, and who had, for some time past resided in this city. Being there, however, we questioned him respecting the other particular: he informed us, that he could give information of the misconduct, in that respect, of a person high in office, but must decline it for the present, and until relieved, which was promised him, that evening: that at ten to-day, he would give us a detail of whatever he knew on the subject. He affirmed, he had a person in high office, in his power, and has had, a long time past: That he had written to him in terms so abusive, that no person should have submitted to it, but that he dared not to resent it. That Mr. Wolcott was in the same department and, he supposed, under his influence or controul. And, in fact, expressed himself in such a manner, as to leave no doubt he meant Mr. Hamilton. That he expected to be relieved by Mr. Wolcott, at the instance of that person, although he believed that Mr. Wolcott, in instituting the prosecution, had no improper design. That he was satisfied the prosecution was set on foot, only to keep him low, and oppress him, and ultimately drive him away, in order to prevent his using the power he had over him;—that he had had, since his residence here, for eighteen months, many private meetings with that person, who had often promised to put him into employment, but had disappointed him:—That on hearing the prosecution was commenced against him, he applied to this person for counsel, who advised him to keep out of the way, for a few days:—That a merchant came to him, and offered, as a volunteer, to be his bail, who, he suspects, had been instigated by this person, and after being decoyed to the place, the merchant wished to carry him, he refused being his bail, unless he would deposit a sum of money to some considerable amount, which he could not do, and was, in consequence, committed to prison:—As well as we remember, he gave, as a reason why he could not communicate to us, what he knew of the facts alluded to, that he was apprehensive, it might prevent his discharge, but that he would certainly communicate the whole to us, at ten this morning; at which time, we were informed, he had absconded, or concealed himself.
Signed by James Monroe and
No. III. (a)
Philadelphia, 13th December, 1792.
Being desirous, on account of their equivocal complection, to examine into the suggestions which had been made us respecting the motive for the confinement and proposed enlargement of James Reynolds, from the jail of this city, and inclined to suspect, for the same reason, that, unless it were immediately done, the opportunity would be lost, as we were taught to suspect he would leave the place, immediately after his discharge, we called at his house last night for that purpose; we found Mrs. Reynolds alone. It was with difficulty, we obtained from her, any information on the subject, but at length she communicated to us the following particulars:
That since Col. Hamilton was secretary of the treasury, and at his request, she had burned a considerable number of letters from him to her husband, and in the absence of the latter, touching business between them, to prevent their being made public;—she also mentioned that Mr. Clingman had several anonymous notes addressed to her husband, which, she believed, were from Mr. Hamilton (which we have) with an endorsement “from secretary Hamilton, Esq.” in Mr. Reynolds’s hand writing:—That Mr. Hamilton offered her his assistance to go to her friends, which he advised:—That he also advised that her husband should leave the parts, not to be seen here again, and in which case, he would give something clever. That she was satisfied this wish for his departure did not proceed from friendship to him, but upon account of his threat, that he could tell something, that would make some of the heads of departments tremble.—That Mr. Wadsworth had been active in her behalf, first at her request; but, in her opinion, with the knowledge and communication of Mr. Hamilton, whose friend he professed to be; that he had been at her house yesterday and mentioned to her, that two gentlemen of Congress had been at the jail to confer with her husband; enquired if she knew what they went for; observed, he knew, Mr. Hamilton had enemies, who would try to prove some speculations on him, but, when enquired into, he would be found immaculate:—to which, she replied, she rather doubted it. We saw in her possession two notes; one in the name of Alexander Hamilton, of the sixth of December, and the other signed “ S. W.” purporting to have been written yesterday, both expressing a desire to relieve her.
She denied any recent communication with Mr. Hamilton, or that she had received any money from him lately.
Signed James Monroe and
F. A. Muhlenberg.
No. IV. (a)
Philadelphia, 13th December 1792.
Jacob Clingman has been engaged in some negociations with Mr. Reynolds, the person, who has lately been discharged from a prosecution instituted against him by the comptroller of the treasury:—That his acquaintance commenced in September 1791:—That a mutual confidence and intimacy existed between them:—That in January or February last, he saw Col. Hamilton, at the house of Reynolds;—immediately on his going into the house Col. Hamilton left it;—That in a few days after, he (Clingman) was a Mr. Reynold’s house, with Mrs. Reynolds, her husband being then out, some person knocked at the door; he arose and opened it, and saw that it was Col. Hamilton: Mrs. Reynolds went to the door; he delivered a paper to her, and that he was ordered to give Mr. Reynolds that: but asked Mrs. Reynolds, who could order the secretary of the treasury of the United States to give that; she replied, that she supposed he did not want to be known:—This happened in the night. He asked her how long Mr. Reynolds had been acquainted with Col. Hamilton; she replied some months;—That Col. Hamilton had assisted her husband; that some few days before that time, he had received upwards of eleven hundred dollars of Col. Hamilton. Some time after this, Clingman was at the house of Reynolds, and saw Col. Hamilton come in, he retired and left him there. A little after Duer’s failure, Reynolds told Clingman in confidence, that if Duer had held up three days longer, he should have made fifteen hundred pounds, by the assistance of Col. Hamilton: that Col. Hamilton had informed him that he was connected with Duer. Mr. Reynolds also said, that Col. Hamilton had made thirty thousand dollars by speculation; that Col. Hamilton had supplied him with money to speculate. That, about June last, Reynolds told Clingman, that he had applied to Col. Hamilton, for money to subscribe to the turnpike road at Lancaster, and had received a note from him, in these words, “It is utterly out of my power, I assure you, upon my honor, to comply with your request. Your note is returned.” Which original note, accompanying this, has been in Clingman’s possession ever since. Mr. Reynolds has once or twice mentioned to Clingman, that he had it in his power to hang Col. Hamilton; that if he wanted money he was obliged to let him have it:—That he (Clingman) has occasionally lent money to Reynolds, who always told him, that he could always get it from Col. Hamilton, to repay it.—That on one occasion Clingman lent him two hundred dollars, that Reynolds promised to pay him thro’ the means of Col. Hamilton, that he went with him, saw him go into Col. Hamilton’s;—that after he came out, he paid him one hundred dolllars, which, he said, was part of the sum he had got; and paid the balance in a few days; the latter sum paid was said to have been from Col. Hamilton, after his return from Jersey, having made a visit to the manufacturing society there. After a warrant was issued against Reynolds, upon a late prosecution, which was instituted against him, Clingman seeing Reynolds, asked him why he did not apply to his friend Col. Hamilton, he said he would go immediately, and went accordingly;—he said afterwards, that Col. Hamilton advised him to keep out of the way, a few days, and the matter would be settled. That after this time, Henry Seckel went to Reynolds, and offered to be his bail, if we would go with him to Mr. Baker’s office, where he had left the officer, who had the warrant in writing;—that he prevailed on Reynolds to go with him;—that after Reynolds was taken into custody, Seckel refused to become his bail, unless he would deposit, in his possession, property to the value of four hundred pounds; upon which, Reynolds wrote to Col. Hamilton, and Mr. Seckel carried the note;—after two or three times going, he saw Col. Hamilton; Col. Hamilton said, he knew Reynolds and his father;—that his father was a good whig in the late war; that was all he could say: That it was not in his power to assist him; in consequence of which, Seckel refused to be his bail, and Reynolds was imprisoned. Mr. Reynolds also applied to a Mr. Francis, who is one of the clerks in the treasury department: he said he could not do anything, without the consent of Mr. Hamilton; that he would apply to him. He applied to Mr. Hamilton; who told him, that it would not be prudent; if he did, he must leave the department.
After Reynolds was confined, Clingman asked Mrs. Reynolds, why she did not apply to Col. Hamilton, to dismiss him, as the money was ready to be refunded, that had been received;—she replied, that she had applied to him, and he had sent her to Mr. Wolcott, but directed her not to let Mr. Wolcott know, that he had sent her there; notwithstanding this injunction, she did let Mr. Wolcott know, by whom she had been sent; who appeared to be surprised at the information, but said, he would do what he could for her, and would consult Col. Hamilton on the occasion. Col. Hamilton advised her to get some person of respectability to intercede for her husband, and mentioned Mr. Muhlenburg.
Reynolds continued to be kept in custody, for some time; during which time, Clingman had conversation with Mr. Wolcott, who said, if he would give up a list of claims which he had, he should be released:—After this, Mrs. Reynolds informed Clingman, that Col. Hamilton had told her, that Clingman should write a letter to Mr. Wolcott, and a duplicate of the same to himself, promising to give up the list, and refund the money, which had been obtained on a certificate, which had been said to have been improperly obtained.
Clingman asked Mrs. Reynolds for the letters, that her husband had received from Col. Hamilton, from time to time, as he might probably use them to obtain her husband’s liberty;—she replied, that Col. Hamilton had requested her to burn all the letters, that were in his hand writing, or that had his name to them: which she had done; he pressed her to examine again, as she might not have destroyed the whole, and they would be useful;—She examined and found notes, which are herewith submitted, and which, she said, were notes from Col. Hamilton.
Mrs. Reynolds told Clingman, that having heard, that her husband’s father was, in the late war, a commissary under the direction of Col. Wadsworth, waited on him, to get him to intercede for her husband’s discharge:—he told her, he would give her his assistance, and said, now you have made me your friend, you must apply to no person else.—That on Sunday evening Clingman went to the home of Reynolds, and found Col. Wadsworth there: he was introduced to Col. Wadsworth by Mrs. Reynolds: Col Wadsworth told him, he had seen Mr. Wolcott;—that Mr. Wolcott would do any thing for him (Clingman) and Reynolds’s family, that he could;—that he had called on Col. Hamilton but had not seen him;—but he might tell Mr. Muhlenburg, that a friend of his (Clingman’s) had told him, that Col. Wadsworth was a countryman and schoolmate of Mr. Ingersoll, and that Col. Wadsworth was also intimate with the governor, and that the governor would do almost any thing to oblige him;—that his name must not be mentioned to Mr. Muhlenburg, as telling him this; but that if Mr. Muhlenburg could be brought to speak to him first, on the subject, he would then do any thing in his power for them; and told him not to speak to him, if he should meet him in the street, and said, if his name was mentioned, that he would do nothing:—That on Wednesday, Clingman saw Col. Wadsworth at Reynolds’s house; he did not find her at home, but left a note; but on going out he met her, and said he had seen every body, and done every thing.
Mrs. Reynolds told Clingman, that she had received money of Col. Hamilton, since her husband’s confinement, enclosed in a note, which note she had burned.
After Reynolds was discharged, which was eight or nine o’clock on Wednesday evening:—about twelve o’clock at night, Mr. Reynolds sent a letter to Col. Hamilton by a girl;—Reynolds followed the girl, and Clingman followed him;—he saw the girl go into Col. Hamilton’s house;—Clingman then joined Reynolds, and they walked back and forward in the street, until the girl returned, and informed Reynolds, that he need not go out of town that night, but call on him, early in the morning. In the morning, between seven and eight o’clock, he saw Reynolds go to Col. Hamilton’s house and go in: he has not seen him since, and supposes he has gone out of the state.
Mr. Clingman further adds, that some time ago, he was informed by Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, that he had books containing the amount of the cash due to the Virginia line, at his own house at New-York, with liberty to copy, and was obtained thro’ Mr. Duer.
The above contains the truth to the best of my knowledge and recollection, and to which I am ready to make oath.
Given under my hand, this 13th
of December, 1792.
Signed by Jacob Clingman.
- Dear Sir
I have not tim to tell you the cause of my present troubles only that Mr. has rote you this morning and I know not wether you have got the letter or not and he has swore that If you do not answer It or If he dose not se or hear from you to day he will write Mrs. Hamilton he has just Gone oute and I am a Lone I think you had better come here one moment that you May know the Cause then you will the better know how to act Oh my God I feel more for you than myself and wish I had never been born to give you so much unhappiness do not write to him not no a Line but come herd soon do not send or leave any thing in his power
Philadelphia, 15th December, 1791.
I am very sorry to find out that I have been so Cruelly treated by a person that I took to be my best friend instead of that my greatest Enimy. You have deprived me of every thing near and dear to me, I discovred whenever I Came into the house. after being out I found Mrs. Reynolds weeping I ask’d her the Cause of being so unhappy. She always told me that she had bin Reding. and she could not help Crying when she Red any thing was Afecting. but seing her Repeatedly in that Setevation gave me some suspicion to think that was not the Cause, as fortain would have it. before matters was carred to two great a length. I discovered a letter directed to you which I copied of and put it in the place where I found it without being discovered by Her. and then the evening after. I was Curious anough to watch her. and see give a leter to a Black man in Market Street. which I followed him to your door. after that I Returned home some time in the evening, and I broached the matter to her and Red the Copy to her which she fell upon her knees and asked forgiveness and discovered every thing to me Respecting the matter and ses that she was unhappy. and not knowing what to do with some assistance. She Called on you for the lone of some money. which you toald her you would call on her the Next Evening. which accordingly you did. and there Sir you took the advantage a poor Broken harted woman. instead of being a Friend. you have acted the part of the most Cruelist man in existance. you have made a whole family miserable. She ses there is no other man that she Care for in the world. now Sir you have bin the Cause of Cooling her affections for me. She was a woman. I should as soon sespect an angiel from heven. and one where all my happiness was depending. and I would Sacrefise almost my life to make her Happy. but now I am determined to have satisfaction. it shant be onely one mamily thats miserable. for I am Robbed of all happiness in this world I am determined to leve her. and take my daughter with me that Shant see her poor mother Lot. now Sir if I Cant see you at your house call and see me. for there is no person that Knowes any thing as yet. And I am tiremd to see you, by some means or other. for you have made me an unhappy man for eve. put it to your own case and Reflect one moment. that you should know shush a thing of your wife. would not you have satisfaction yes. and so will I before one day passes me more.
I am yours
Mr. Alexander Hamilton.
Saturday Evening 17th December, 1791.
I now have taken till tuesday morning to Consider on What Steps will be Best for me to take. I should not have let the matter Rested till then, if it had not been for the news of the death of my Sister. which it Semes as if all my troubles are Comming on me in one moment. if it had been any other person except yourself. that treated me as you have done. I should not have taken the trouble to Call on them more than once. but your being in the Station of life you are. induses me to way every Surcomcance well Respecting the matter it will be impossible for me ever to think of liveing or Reconsiling myself to Stay with a woman that I no has plased her affections on you. and you know if you reflect one moment. that you have been the sole Cause of it. I have all Reason in the world to believe its true. I am that man will always have Satisfaction by some means or other when treated ill. Especially when I am treated in the mannor, as you have done. you may rest ashured that the metter as yet is Not known. If think proper to Call at the sign of the George tuesday morning at 8 oclock I will be there. for your house or office is no place to converse about these matters. if that is not agreeable to you. let me know what place I shall see you at. at that time, for I am determined to know what corse I shall take, more miserable I cant be than I am at present. let the consequence be as it will. for when I come into the house. I find the wife always weeping and praying that I wont leve her. And its all on your account, for if you had not secked for her Ruin it would not have happined. Could you not have Relieved the disstressed without transgressing in the mannor you have done. Sertainly you did not show the man of honnor. in taking the advantage of the afflicted, when Calling on you as a father and protector in the time of disstress. put that home to yourself and tell me what you would do in such a Case. or what amend Could be made to you or wether it would be possible to make any. you will answer no. it be impossible after being Robbed of all your happiness and your whole family made misseable. I know you are a man thats not void of feeling. I am not a man that wishes to do any thing Rashly. or plunge myself into Ruin. now if you think proper to se me at the place I have mentioned. or any other. please to let me no before. for I wish to be by ourselfs where we Can converse together. for if you do not Call on me or let me no where I Can see. you at that time. I shant call on you after this.
I am yours
Mr. Alexander Hamilton.
Philadelphia, 19th December, 1791.
When we were last togeather you then would wis to know my Determination what I would do and. you exspess a wish to do any thing that was in your power to Serve me, its true its in your power to do a great deal for me, but its out of your power to do any thing that will Restore to me my Happiness again for if you should give me all you possess would not do it. god knowes I love the woman and wish every blessing may attend her, you have bin the Cause of Winning her love. and I Dont think I Can be Reconciled to live with Her, when I know I hant her love. now Sir I have Considered on the matter Serously. I have This preposial to make to you. give me the Sum Of thousand dollars and I will leve the town and take my daughter with me and go where my Friend Shant here from me and leve her to Yourself to do for her as you thing proper. I hope you wont think my request is in a view of making Me Satisfaction for the injury done me. for there is nothing that you Can do will Compensate for it. your answer I shall expect This evening or in the morning early, as I am Determined to wate no longer till. I know my lot
Mr. Alexr. Hamilton
Received December 22 of Alexander Hamilton six hundred dollars on account of a sum of one thousand dollars due to me.
Received Philadelphia January 8. 1792 of Alexander Hamilton four hundred dollars in full of all demands
Philadelphia 17th, January 1792.
I Suppose you will be surprised in my writing to you Repeatedly as I do. but dont be Alarmed for its Mrs. R. wish to See you. and for My own happiness and hers. I have not the Least Objections to your Calling. as a friend to Boath of us, and must rely intirely on your and her honnor. when I conversed with you last. I told you it would be disagreeable to me for you to Call, but Sence, I am pritty well Convinsed, She would onely wish to See you as a friend. and sence I am Reconciled to live with her, I would wish to do every thing for her happiness and my own, and Time may ware of every thing, So dont fail in Calling as Soon as you Can make it Conveanant. and I Rely on your befriending me if there should anything Offer that would be to my advantage. as you Express a wish to befriend me. So I am
yours to Serve
Monday Night, Eight C, L
I need not acquaint that I had Ben Sick all moast Ever sence I saw you as I am sure you allready no It Nor would I solicit a favor wich Is so hard to obtain were It not for the Last time Yes Sir Rest assurred I will never ask you to Call on me again I have kept my Bed those tow dayes and now rise from My pilliow wich your Neglect has filled with the shorpest thorns I no Longer doubt what I have Dreaded to no but stop I do not wish to se you to to say any thing about my Late disappointment No I only do it to Ease a heart wich is ready Burst with Greef I can neither Eat or sleep I have Been on the point of doing the moast horrid acts at I shudder to think where I might been what will Become of me. In vain I try to Call reason to aid me but alas ther Is no Comfort for me I feel as If I should not Contennue long and all the wish I have Is to se you once more that I may my doubts Cleared up for God sake be not so voed of all humannity as to deni me this Last request but if you will not Call some time this night I no its late but any tim between this and twelve A Clock I shall be up Let me Intreat you If you wont Come to send me a Line oh my head I can rite no more do something to Ease My heart or Els I no not what I shall do for so I cannot live Commit this to the care of my maid be not offended I beg.
Wednesday Morning ten of Clock.
- Dear Sir
I have kept my bed those tow days past but find my self mutch better at presant though yet full distreesed and shall till I se you fretting was the Cause of my Illness I thought you had been told to stay away from our house and yesterday with tears I my Eyes I beged Mr. once more to permit your visits and he told upon his honnour that he had not said anything to you and that It was your own fault believe me I scarce knew how to beleeve my senses and if my seturation was insuportable before I heard this It was now more so fear prevents my saing more only that I shal be misarable till I se you and if my dear freend has the Least Esteeme for the unhappy Maria whos greateest fault Is Loveing him he will come as soon as he shall get this and till that time My breast will be the seate of pain and woe.
P. S. If you cannot come this Evening to stay just come only for one moment as I shal be Lone Mr. is going to sup with a friend from New-York.
the Girl tells me that you said If I wanted any thing that I should write this morning alas my friend want what what can ask for but peace wich you alone can restore to my tortured bosom and do My dear Col hamilton on my kneese Let me Intreatee you to reade my Letter and Comply with my request tell the bearer of this or give her a line you need not be the least affraid let me not die with fear have pity on me my freend for I deserve it I would not solicit this favor but I am sure It cannot injure you and will be all the happiness I Ever Expect to have But oh I am disstressed more than I can tell My heart Is ready to burst and my tears wich once could flow with Ease are now denied me Could I only weep I would thank heaven and bless the hand that
Sunday Evening 24th March. 1792
On my entering the Room the last evening. I found Mrs Reynolds in a setuvation little different from distraction and for some time could not prevail on her to tell me the Cause. at last She informed me that you had been here likewise of a letter she had wrote you in a fright. which she need not have don as I Never intented doing any thing I told her but did it to humble Her. for the imprudent language she made yuse of to me. and You may Rest ashured sir, that I have not a wish to do any thing that may give you or your family a moments pain I know not what you may think of me. but suppose yourself for a moment in my setuvation. that your wife whom you tenderly love. should plase her affections on another object and hear her say. that all her happiness depends intirely on that object. what would you do in such a Case. would you have acted as I have don. I have Consented to things which I thought I never could have don. but I have dun it to make life tolerable. and for the sake of a person whose happiness is dearer to me than my own. I have another afliction added to the Rest that is almost insupportable. I find when ever you have been with her. she is Cheerful and kind. but when you have not in some time she is Quite to Reverse. and wishes to be alone by her self. but when I tell her of it. all her answer is she Cant help it. and hopes I will forgive her. shurely you Cannot wonder if I should act ever so imprudent. though at present if I could take all her Grief upon myself I would do it with pleashure. the excess of which alarm me untill now. I have had no idea of. I have spent this day at her bed side in trying to give her the Consolation which I myself stand in need of. she also tell me, you wish to see me tomorrow evening and then I shall Convince you. that I would not wish to trifle with you And would much Rather add to the happiness of all than to disstress any
am sir Your
Mr. Alexr. Hamilton
Read this all
Sunday Night, one OClock
- My dear friend
In a state of mind which know language can paint I take up the pen but alas I know not what I write or how to give you an idea of the anguish wich at this moment rends my heart yes my friend I am doomed to drink the bitter cup of affliction Pure and unmixed but why should I repine why pour forth my wretched soul in fruitless complainings for you have said It you have commanded and I must submit heaven tow Inexorable heaven Is deaf to my anguish and has marked me out for the child of sorrow oh my dear friend wether shall I fly for consolation oh all all consolation is shut against me there is not the least gleme of hope but oh merciful God forgive me and you my friend Comply with this Last Request Let me once more se you and unbosom Myself to you perhaps I shal be happier after It I have mutch to tell wich I dare not write And which you ought to know oh my dear Sir give me your advice for once In an Affair on wich depends my Existence Itself Think not my friend that I say this to make you come and se me and that I have nothing to tell you for heaven by which I declare knows that I have woes to relate wich I never Expected to have known accept by the name Come therefore to-morrow sometime or Els in the Evening do I beg you to come gracious God had I the world I would lay It at your feet If I could only se you oh I must or I shall lose my senses and It is not because I think to prevail on you to visit me again no my dear Col Hamilton I do not think of It but will when I se you do just as you tell me so doant be offended with me for pleadeing so hard to se you If you do not think it proper to come here Let me know by a line where I shal se you and what hour you need not put your name to It or mine Either Just direct Mr or Els leve It blank adieu my Ever dear Col hamilton you may form to yourself an Idea of my distress for I Cant desscribe It to you Pray for me and be kind to me Let me se you death now would be welcome Give
Philadelphia 3d, April, 1792.
I hope you will pardon me in taking the liberty I do In troubling you so offen. it hurts me to let you Know my Setivation. I should take it as a protickeler if you would Oblige me with the lone of about thirty Dollars I am in hopes in a fue days I shall be In a more better Setivation. and then I shall Be able to make you ample Satisfaction for your Favours shewn me. I want it for some little Necssaries of life for my family. sir you granting the above favour this morning will very much Oblige your most Obedient and humble Servant
Alex. Hamilton Esqr.
N B the inclose is a Receipt for Ninety dollars. that is if you Can Oblige me with the thirty. thats Including Boath Sums
Received philadelphia 3d. April. 1792 of Alexander Hamilton Esqr. Ninety dollars which I promise to pay on demand
Philadelphia, 7th, April. 1792.
I am sorry to inform you my setivation is as such. I am indebted to a man in this town about 45. dollars which he will wate no longer on me. now sir I am sorrey to be troubleing you So Offen. which if you Can Oblige me with this to day. you will do me infenate service. that will pay Nearly all I owe in this town except yourself. I have some property on the North River wich I have Wrote to my Brother sell which as soon as it Come in my hands. I pay you every shilling with strictest Justice you Oblige me with. the inclose is the Receipt, for the amount
I am sir with due Regard. your humble servant
Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.
Received philadelphia. 7th. April. 1792. of Alexander Hamilton Esqr. Forty five dollars which I promise to pay on demand
Philadelphia, 17th. April. 1792.
I am sorry to be the barer of So disagreeable. an unhappy infermation. I must tell you Sir that I have bin the most unhappiest man. for this five days in Existance, Which you aught to be the last person I ever Should tell my troubls to. ever Sence the night you Calld and gave her the Blank Paper. She has treated me more Cruel than pen cant paint out. and Ses that She is determed never to be a wife to me any more, and Ses that it Is a plan of ours. what has past god knows I Freely forgive you and dont wish to give you fear or pain a moment on the account of it. now Sir I hope you will give me your advise as freely as if Nothing had eve passed Between us I think it is in your power to make matter all Easy again. and I suppose you to be that Man of fealling that you would wish to make every person happy Where it in you power I shall wate to See you at the Office if its Convenant. I am sir with Asteem yours
Alexr Hamilton Esqr.
Philadelphia, 23d. April. 1792.
I am sorry I am in this disagreeable sutivation which Obliges me to trouble you So offen as I do. but I hope it wont be long before it will be In my power to discharge what I am indebted to you Nothing will give me greater pleasure I must Sir ask the loan of thirty dollars more from you, which I shall esteem as a particular favour. and you may Rest ashured that I will pey you with Strickest Justice. for the Reliefe you have aforded me, the Inclosed is the Receipt for the thirty dollars, I shall wate at your Office. Sir for an answer I am sir your very Humble Servant
Philadelphia, 2d May, 1792.
I must now for ever forbid you of visiting Mrs. R any more I was in hopes that it would in time ware off, but I find there is no hopes. So I determined to put a finell end to it. if it sin my power. for I find by your Seeing her onely Renews the Friendship, and likewise when you Call you are fearful any person Should See you am I a person of Such a bad Carector. that you would not wish to be seen in Coming in my house in the front way. all any Person Can say of me is that I am poore and I dont know if that is any Crime. So I must meet my fate. I have my Reasons for it for I cannot be Reconsiled to it. for there is know person Can tell the pain it gives me except the were plased in my sutivation I am sure the world would despise me if the Onely new what I have bin Reconsiled to, I am in hopes in a short time to make you amends for your favour Renderedm e I am Sir your humble Servant.
Saturday Morning the June 2
- Dear Sir
I once take up the pen to solicit The favor of seing again oh Col hamilton what have I done that you should thus Neglect me Is it because I am unhappy But stop I will not say you have for perhaps you have caled and have found no opportunity to Come In at least I hope you have I am now A lone and shall be for a few days I believe till Wensday though am not sartain and would wish to se you this Evening I poseble If not as soon as you can make It Convenent oh my deer freend how shal I plede Enough what shal I say Let me beg of you to Come and If you never se me again oh if you think It best I will submit to It and take a long and last adieuMari
for heaven sake keep me not In suspince Let me know your Intention Either by a Line or Catline.
I am now under the necessity of asking a favour from you Which if Can Oblige me with the loan of three Hundred dollars. it will be in my power to make five hundred Before the Next week is out. and if you Can oblege me with it. you may rely on haveing of it again the last of Next Week. if I am alive and well. the use I wont it for is to Subscribe to the turn pike Road. there is a number of gentleman in town wants me to go up to Lancaster to Subscribe for them. no sir if you can oblige as I want to leve town tomorrow morning and the books will be open for subscribing on monday morning Next. so that I shall have Little time to get there. you never Sir Can oblige me more than Complying with the above, please to let me know between this and 4 oClock if you dont I shant be able to go—from your Humble Sevt.
Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.
Philadelphia 23d June. 1792
- Honnored Sir,
Your Goodness will I hope overlook the present application you will infenately Oblige me if you Can let me have the Loan of fifty dollars. for a few days. what little money I had I put into the turnpike Scrip. and I dont like to sell At the low advance the are selling at. at present, as its very low. if you Can Oblige me with that much in the morning sir you shall have it in a short time again and you Will very much Oblige your Humble and Obed. Serv.
Alexr. Hamilton. Esq.
NB. you will I hope pardon me in taking the liberty to call to day. but my Necessaty is such that it Oblige me to do it: sunday evening.
Received philadelphia 24th June. 1792 of Alexander Hamilton Esq. Fifty Dollars. which I promise to pay on demand to the said Alexr. Hamilton or Order as witness my handJames Reynolds
Philadelphia 24th. August, 1792.
- Honored Sir.
When I Conversed with you last I mentioned that I was going to moove. Sence that I have mooved I have taken a very convenant house for a boarding house. but being disappointed in receiving Some money. put it intirely out of my power to furnish the house I have taken. I have four genteal boarders will come to live with me, as soon as I Can get the Rooms furnished. dear Sir, this is my Setuvation. I am in no way of business. the Cash last lent me. inable me to pay my Rent. and some little debts I had Contracted for my Familys youse. now sir if I Can ask a favour once more of the loan of two Hundred dollars. I will give you Surity of all I process. for the payment of what I owe you. without your assistance. this time I dont know what I shall do. Mrs. Reynolds and myself has made a Calculation. and find with that much money will inable us to take in four boarders. and I am in hopes in the mean time will. something will turn up in my favour. which will enable me to keep myself and famy. dear Sir your Complying with the above will for ever, lay me under the greatist Obligation to you and I will. you may Rest ashured. Repay it again as soon as it is in my power.
I am Honored Sir with
Respect your most Obedt.
and Humble Servt.
Vine Street No. 161 Second door
from the Corner of fifth Street
Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.
Philadelphia 30th Aug. 1792.
- Honored Sir,
you will I hope pardon me if I intrude on your goodness thinking the multiplycity of business. you have to encounter With. has been the cause of my not hereing from you. which induces me to write the Second time. flatering myself it will be in your Power to Comply with my Request. which I shall make it my whole Study. to Remit it to you as soon as its in my power your Compyance dear Sir will very much
Oblige your most
Obed. and Humble Servant.
Vine street No. 161, one door from
the Corner of Fifth Street.
Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
- City of Pennsylvania, ss.
Henry Seckel of the City aforesaid Merchant maketh oath that on or about the thirteenth day of November in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety two Jacob Clingman sent for this Deponent to the house of Hilary Baker, Esquire, then Alderman, that this Deponent went accordingly to the house of the said Alderman and was there requested by the said Jacob Clingman to become his bail which he did upon the promise of the said Clingman to deposit with him a sum in certificates sufficient to cover and secure him for so becoming bail—That the said Clingman having failed to make the said deposit according to his promise this Deponent applied to the said Hilary Baker and obtained for him a warrant upon which the said Clingman was arrested and carried again to the said Hilary Baker—That said Clingman again urged this Deponent to become his bail but he declining said Clingman requested this Deponent to go and bring to him one James Reynolds from whom as this Deponent understood the said Clingman expected to obtain assistance towards his release from Custody—That this Deponent went accordingly to the said James Reynolds and in the name of Clingman engaged him to accompany the Deponent to the House of the said Alderman where the said James Reynolds was also apprehended and detained That thereupon the said James Reynolds requested this Deponent to carry a letter for him to Alexander Hamilton then Secretary of the Treasury—that this Deponent carried the said letter as requested and after two or three calls found the said Alexander Hamilton and delivered the letter to him—that the said Hamilton after reading it mentioned to this Deponent that he had known the father of the said Reynolds during the war with Great-Britain, and would be willing to serve the said James, if he could with propriety, but that it was not consistent with the duty of his office to do what Reynolds now requested; and also mentioned to this Deponent that Reynolds and Clingman had been doing something very bad and advised this Deponent to have nothing to do with them lest he might bring himself into trouble—And this Deponent further saith that he never had any conversation or communication whatever with the said Alexander Hamilton respecting the said Reynolds or Clingman till the time of carrying the said letter. And this Deponent further saith that the said Clingman formerly lived with this Deponent and kept his books which as he supposes was the reason of his sending for this Deponent to become his bail thinking that this Deponent might be willing to befriend him.
Sworn this 19th day of July
- MDCCXCVII before me
- Hilary Baker, Mayor.
Having perused the fifth and fixth numbers of a late publication in this City entitled “The History of the United States for the year 1796” and having reviewed certain letters and documents which have remained in my possession since the year 1792, I do hereby at the request of Alexander Hamilton Esquire of New York Certify and declare,
That in the Month of December 1792, I was desired by Mr. Hamilton to be present at his house as the witness of an interview which had been agreed upon between himself and James Monroe, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg and Abraham Venable, Esquires, with which I accordingly complied.
The object of the interview was to remove from the minds of those Gentleman, certain suspicions which had been excited by suggestions of James Reynolds then in Prison and Jacob Clingman a Clerk to Mr. Muhlenberg, (against both of whom prosecutions had been instituted for frauds against the United States,) that Mr. Hamilton had been concerned in promoting or assisting speculation in the public funds, contrary to Law and his duty as Secretary of the Treasury.
The conference was commenced on the part of Mr. Monroe by reading certain Notes from Mr. Hamilton and a Narrative of conversations which had been held with the said Reynolds and Clingman—After the grounds upon which the suspicions rested, had been fully stated, Mr. Hamilton entered into an explanation and by a variety of written documents, which were read, fully evinced, that there was nothing in the transactions to which Reynolds and Clingman had referred, which had any connection with, or relation to speculations in the Funds, claims upon the United States, or any public or official transactions or duties whatever. This was rendered so completely evident, that Mr. Venable requested Mr. Hamilton to desist from exhibiting further proofs. As however an explanation had been desired by the Gentleman before named, Mr. Hamilton insisted upon being allowed to read such documents as he possessed, for the purpose of obviating every shadow of doubt respecting the propriety of his Official conduct.
After Mr. Hamilton’s explanation terminated Messrs. Monroe, Muhlenberg and Venable, severally acknowiedged their entire satisfaction, that the affair had no relation to Official duties, and that it ought not to affect or impair the public confidence in Mr. Hamilton’s character;—at the same time, they expressed their regrets at the trouble which the explanation had occasioned. During a conversation in the streets of Philadelphia immediately after retiring from Mr. Hamilton’s house. Mr. Venable repeated to me, that the explanation was entirely satisfactory, and expressed his concern, that he had been a party to whom it had been made, Though in the course of the conversation Mr. Venable expressed his discontent with public measures which had been recommended by Mr. Hamilton, yet he manifested a high respect for his Talents, and confidence in the integrity of his character.
When Mr. Reynolds was in Prison, it was reported to me, that he had threatened to make disclosures injurious to the character of some head of a Department. This report I communicated to Mr. Hamilton, who advised me to take no steps towards a liberation of Reynolds while such a report existed and remained unexplained. This was antecedent to the interview between Mr. Hamilton and Messrs. Monroe, Muhlenberg and Venable, or to any knowledge on my part of the circumstance by which it was occasioned.
The Offence for which Reynolds and Clingman were prosecuted by my direction, was for suborning a person to commit perjury for the purpose of obtaining Letters of Administration on the estate of a person who was living. After the prosecution was commenced, Clingman confessed to me, that he and Reynolds were possessed of lists in the names and sums due to certain Creditors of the United States, which lists had been obtained from the Treasury—Both Clingman and Reynolds obstinately refused for some time to deliver up the lists or to disclose the name of the person, through whose infidelity they had been obtained. At length on receiving a promise from me, that I would endeavour to effect their liberation from the consequences of the prosecution, they consented to surrender the lists, to restore the balance which had been fraudulently obtained, and to reveal the name of the person, by whom the lists had been furnished.
This was done conformably to the proposition contained in a letter from Clingman dated December 4, 1792, of which a copy is hereunto annexed. The original letter and the lists which were surrendered now remain in my possession. Agreeably to my engagement I informed Jared Ingersol Esqr. Attorney General of Pennsylvania, that an important discovery had been made, and the condition by which it could be rendered useful to the public in preventing future frauds; in consequence of which the prosecutions against Clingman and Reynolds were dismissed.
In the publication referred to, it is suggested that the lists were furnished by Mr. Duer; this is an injurious mistake—nothing occurred at any time to my knowledge, which could give colour to a suspicion, that Mr. Duer was in any manner directly or indirectly concerned with or privy to the transaction. The infidelity was committed by a clerk in the office of the Register—Mr. Duer resigned his office in March, 1790, while the Treasury was at New York—the Clerk who furnished the lists was first employed in Philadelphia in January 1791. The Accounts from which the lists were taken, were all settled at the Treasury subsequent to the time last mentioned; on the discovery above stated the Clerk was dismissed, and has not since been employed in the public offices.
The name of the Clerk who was dismissed has not been publicly mentioned, for a reason which appears in Clingman’s letter; but if the disclosure is found necessary to the vindication of an innocent character it shall be made.
Certified in Philadelphia, this twelfth day of
Copy of a letter from Jacob Clingman, to the Comptroller of the Treasury.
Phila. 4 December, 1792.
Having unfortunately for myself, been brought into a very disagreeable situation, on account of Letters of Administration taken out by a certain John Delabar on the effects of a certain Ephraim Goodanough, who, it since appears, is still living. I beg leave to mention that I am ready to refund the money to the Treasury or to the proper owner or his order, and if it can be of any service to the Treasury Department or to the United States, in giving up the lists of the names of the persons to whom pay is due, and to disclose the name of the person in the utmost confidence from whom the list was obtained, earnestly hoping that may be some inducement to withdraw the action against me, which if prosecuted can only end in injuring my character without any further advantage to the United States.
I have the honor to be
your most humble Servant
Hon. Oliver Wolcott, Esq.
New-York July 6, 1797.
In a pamphlet lately published entitled “No. V. of the History of the United States for 1796 &c.” are sundry papers respecting the affair of Reynolds, in which you once had an agency, accompanied with these among other comments. “They [certain attacks on Mr. Monroe] are ungrateful, because he displayed on an occasion, that will be mentioned immediately, the greatest lenity to Mr. Alexander Hamilton, the prime mover of the Federal party. When some of the papers which are now to be laid before the world were submitted to the Secretary; when he was informed that they were to be communicated to President Washington he entreated in the most anxious tone of deprecation that the measure might be suspended. Mr. Monroe was one of the three gentlemen who agreed to this delay. They gave their consent to it on his express promise of a guarded behaviour in future, and because he attached to the suppression of these papers a mysterious degree of solicitude which they feeling no personal resentment against the individual, were unwilling to augment.” Page 204 and 205. It is also suggested page 206 that I made “a volunteer acknowledgment of seduction” and it must be understood from the context that this acknowledgment was made to the same three gentlemen.
The peculiar nature of this transaction renders it impossible that you should not recollect it in all its parts and that your own declaration to me at the time contradicts absolutely the construction which the editor of the Pamphlet puts upon the affair.
I think myself entitled to ask from your candour and justice a declaration equivalent to that which was made me at the time in the presence of Mr. Wolcott by yourself and the two other gentlemen accompanied by a contradiction of the representations in the comments cited above—And I shall rely upon your delicacy that the manner of doing it will be such as one gentleman has a right to expect from another—especially as you must be sensible that the present appearance of the papers is contrary to the course which was understood between us to be proper, and includes a dishonourable infidelity somewhere—I am far from attributing it to either of the three gentlemen; yet the suspicion naturally falls on some agent made use of by them.
I send you the copy of a Memorandum of the substance of your declaration, made by me the morning after our interview.
I have the honor to be,
Your very obed. servt.
P. S. I must beg the favour of expedition in your reply.
That they regretted the trouble and uneasiness which they had occasioned to me in consequence of the representations made to them—That they were perfectly satisfied with the explanation I had given and that there was nothing in the transaction which ought to affect my character as a public officer or lessen the public confidence in my integrity.
Philadelphia, December, 1792.
On reflection, I deem it advisable for me to have Copies of the several papers which you communicated to me in our interview on Saturday evening, including the notes, and the fragment of Mr. Reynolds’ letter to Mr. Clingman. I therefore request that you will either cause copies of these papers to be furnished to me, taken by the person in whose hand-writing the declarations which you shewed to me were, or will let me have the papers themselves to be copied. It is also my wish, that all such papers as are original may be detained from the parties of whom they were, had, to put it out of their power repeat the abuse of them in situations which may deprive me of the advantage of explanation. Considering of how abominable an attempt they have been the instruments, I trust you will feel no scruples about this detention.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
F. Augustus Muhlenberg,
James Monroe, and
Philad. December 18th. 1792.
I have communicated your letter of yesterday to Messrs. Venables and Monroe. The latter has all the papers relating to the subject in his possession, and I have the pleasure to inform you that your very reasonable request will be speedily complied with. I have the honor to be, with much esteem,
Your most obedient,
FREDK. A. MUHLENBERG.
Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
I have the honor to enclose you copies of the papers requested in yours a few days past—That of the notes you will retain; the others you will be pleased, after transcribing, to return me.
With due respect, I have the honor to be,
Your very humble Servant,
Every thing you desire in the letter above-mentioned shall be most strictly complied with.
Philadelphia, Dec. 20, 1792.
The Hon. Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
Philadelphia, July 10th, 1797.
As I not reside in the city at present, your letter of the 5th inst. did not reach me time enough to answer by Saturday’s post. Whilst I lament the publication of the papers respecting the affair of Reynolds (of which I hope I need not assure you that I had neither knowledge or agency, for I never saw them since the affair took place, nor was I ever furnished with a copy) I do not hesitate to declare that I regretted the trouble and uneasiness this business had occasioned, and that I was perfectly satisfied with the explanation you gave. At the same time permit me to remind you of your declaration also made in the presence of Mr. Wolcott that the information and letters in our possession justified the suspicions we entertained before your explanation took place, and that our conduct towards you in this business was satisfactory. Having no share or agency whatsoever in the publication or comments you are pleased to cite I must beg to be excused from making any remarks thereon. Were I to undertake to contradict the many absurdities and falsehoods which I see published on a variety of subjects which heretofore came under my notice, it would require more time than I am willing to sacrifice.
I have the honor to be Sir, Your obedt. humble servt.
Fredk. A. Muhlenberg.
A. Hamilton, Esq.
Philadelphia, July 9th, 1797.
I have received your letter of the fifth instant by the hands of Mr. Wolcott.
I had heard of the pamphlet you mention some days before, but had not read it. I am entirely ignorant of the Editor, and of the means by which he procured the papers alluded to.
I have had nothing to do with the transaction since the interview with you, I do not possess a copy of the papers at present, nor have I at any time had the possession of any of them, I avoided taking a copy because I feared that the greatest care which I could exercise in keeping them safely, might be defeated by some accident and that some person or other might improperly obtain an inspection of them. I have endeavoured to recollect what passed at the close of the interview which took place with respect to this transaction; it was said I believe by us in general terms, that we were satisfied with the explanation that had been given, that we regretted the necessity we had been subjected to in being obliged to make the inquiry, as well as the trouble and anxiety it had occasioned you, and on your part you admitted in general terms that the business as presented to us bore such a doubtful aspect as to justify the inquiry, and that the manner had been satisfactory to you.
I have now to express my surprise at the contents of a letter published yesterday in Fenno’s paper, in which you endeavour to impute to party motives, the part which I have had in this business, and endeavour to connect me with the releasement of persons committed as you say for heinous crimes. Clingman had been released before I heard of the business, and Reynolds on the very day I received the first intimation of it, arrangements having been previously made for that purpose, by those who had interested themselves to bring it about, so that no application was made to me on that subject, either directly or indirectly the object being entirely accomplished by other means, and before I was informed of their confinement; If you will take the trouble to examine the transaction you will find this statement correct, and you cannot be insensible of the injury you do me when you say, this was an attempt to release themselves from imprisonment by favor of party spirit, and that I was one of the persons resorted to on that ground. I appeal to your candour, and ask you if any part of my conduct in this whole business has justified such an imputation. This having been a joint business and Mr. Monroe living now in New-York, I must avoid saying any thing more on this subject until I can see him and Mr. Muhlenberg together, which I hope will be in the present week.
I am Sir Humble Servant
Abm. B. Venable
MR. Monroe has the honor to inform Col. Hamilton that he arrived in this city yesterday a, m. 12—That Mr. Muhlenberg and himself are to have a meeting this morning upon the subject which concerns him, and after which Col. Hamilton shall immediately hear from them.
Monday morning, July 18, 1797.
Philadelphia, July 17, 1797.
It was our wish to have given a joint answer with Mr. Venable to your favour of the 5th instant concerning the publication of the proceedings in an inquiry in which we were jointly engaged with him in 1792, respecting an affair between yourself and Mr. Reynolds; and into which, from the circumstances attending it, we deemed it our duty to enquire. His departure however for Virginia precludes the possibility of so doing at present. We nevertheless readily give such explanation upon that point as we are now able to give; the original papers having been deposited in the hands of a respectable character in Virginia soon after the transaction took place, and where they now are.
We think proper to observe that as we had no agency in or knowledge of the publication of these papers till they appeared, so of course we could have none in the comments that were made on them.
But you particularly wish to know what the impression was which your explanation of that affair made on our minds, in the interview we had with you upon that subject at your own house, as stated in the paper No. 5, of the publication referred to; and to which we readily reply, that the impression which we left in your mind as stated in that number, was that which rested on our own, and which was that the explanation of the nature of your connection with Reynolds which you then gave removed the suspicions we had before entertained of your being connected with him in speculation. Had not this been the case we should certainly not have left that impression on your mind, nor should we have desisted from the plan we had contemplated in the commencement of the inquiry, of laying the papers before the President of the U. States.
We presume that the papers to which our signatures are annexed are in all cases correct. ’Tis proper however to observe that as the notes contained in No. 5. were intended only as memoranda of the explanation which you gave us in that interview, as likewise the information which was afterwards given us by Mr. Clingham on the same subject, and without a view to any particular use, they were entered concisely and without form. This is sufficiently obvious from the difference which appears in that respect, between the papers which preceded our interview and those contained in No. 5, of the publication.
We cannot conclude this letter without expressing our surprize at the contents of a paper in the Gazette of the United States of the 8th instant, which states that the proceedings in the inquiry in question, were the contrivance of two very profligate men who sought to obtain their liberation from prison by the favor of party spirit. You will readily recollect that one of those men Mr. Clingham was never imprisoned for any crime alledged against him by the department of the Treasury, and that the other Mr. Reynolds was upon the point of being released and was actually released and without our solicitation or even wish, by virtue of an agreement made with him by that department before the inquiry began. We feel too very sensibly the injustice of the intimation that any of us were influenced by party spirit, because we well know that such was not the case: nor can we otherwise than be the more surprized that such an intimation should now be given, since we well remember that our conduct upon that occasion excited your sensibility, and obtained from you an unequivocal acknowledgment of our candour.
With consideration we are, Sir,
your most obedient
and very humble servants,
Fredk. A. Muhlenberg.
I have your letter of this date. It gives me pleasure to receive your explanation of the ambiguous phrase in the paper No. V. published with your signatures and that of Mr. Venable, and your information of the fact, that my explanation had been satisfactory to you.
You express your surprize at the contents of a paper in the Gazette of the U. States of the 8th instant. If you will review that paper with care, you will find, that what is said about party spirit refers to the view with which the accusation was instituted by Reynolds and Clingman, not to that with which the inquiry was entered into by you. They sought by the favor of party spirit to obtain liberation from prison—but tho’ they may have rested their hopes on this ground it is hot said, nor in my opinion implied, that you in making the inquiry were actuated by that spirit—I cannot however alter my opinion that they were influenced by the motive ascribed to them—For though, as you observe Clingman was not in prison (end so far my memory has erred) and though it be true, that Reynolds was released before the inquiry began by virtue of an agreement with the Treasury Department (that is the Comptroller of the Treasury) for a reason of public utility which has been explained to you,—Yet it will be observed that Clingman as well as Reynolds was actually under a prosecution for the same offence, and that it appears by No. I. of the papers under your signatures, than for a period of more than three weeks while Clingman was in the act of soliciting the “aid and friendship of Mr. Muhlenberg on behalf of himself and Reynolds to get them released or discharged from the prosecution” he Clingman frequently dropped hints to Mr. Muhlenberg, that Reynolds had it in his power very materially to injure the secretary of the Treasury and that Reynolds knew several very improper transactions of his;—and at last went so far as to state that Reynolds said he had it in his power to hang the secretary of the Treasury who was deeply concerned in speculation.” From this it appears, that the suggestions to my prejudice were early made, and were connected with the endeavour to obtain relief through Mr. Muhlenberg—I derive from all this a confirmation of my opinion founded on the general nature of the proceeding that Reynolds and Clingman, knowing the existence in Congress of a party hostile to my conduct in administration, and that the newspapers devoted to it, frequently contained insinuations of my being concerned in improper speculations, formed upon that basis the plan of conciliating the favour and aid of that party towards getting rid of the prosecution by accusing me of Speculation. This is what I meant in the publication alluded to and what I must always believe.
With this explanation, you will be sensible that there is nothing in the publication inconsistent with my declaration to you at closing our interview. It is very true, that after the full and unqualified expressions which came from you together with Mr. Venable, differing in terms but agreeing in substance, of your entire satisfaction, with the explanation I had given, and that there was nothing in the affair of the nature suggested; accompanied with expressions of regret at the trouble and anxiety occasioned to me—and when (as I recollect it) some one of the gentlemen expressed a hope that the manner of conducting the inquiry had appeared to me fair and liberal—I replied in substance that though I had been displeased with the mode of introducing the subject to me (which you will remember I manifested at the time in very lively terms) yet that in other respects I was satisfied with and sensible to the candour with which I had been treated. And this was the sincere impression of my mind.
I am Gentlemen
Your most Obedt. and hum. serv.
I send herewith an answer to the joint letter of Mr. Muhlenberg and yourself. It appears to me on reflection requisite to have some explanation on the note of January 2, 179e, with your signature only. It may be inferred from the attention to record the information of Clingman therein stated after what had passed between us that you meant to give credit and sanction to the suggestion that the defence set up by me was an imposition—You will, I doubt not, be sensible of the propriety of my requesting you to explain yourself on this point also.
I remain with consideration
Sir your obedient servant
Philadelphia, July 17, 1797.
It is impossible for me to trace back at this moment, occupied as I am with other concerns, all the impressions of my mind at the different periods at which the memoranda were made in the publication to which you refer in your favour of to-day, but I well remember that in entering the one which bears my single signature, altho’ I was surprized at the communication given, yet I neither meant to give or imply any opinion of my own as to its contents. I simply entered the communication as I received it, reserving to myself the liberty to form an opinion upon it at such future time as I found convenient, paying due regard to all the circumstances connected with it.
I am Sir with consideration
your very humble servant
Your letter of yesterday in answer to mine of the same date was received last night. I am sorry to say, that as I understand it, it is unsatisfactory—It appears to me liable to this inference that the information of Clingman had revived the suspicions which my explanation had removed. This would include the very derogatory suspicion, that I had concerted with Reynolds not only the fabrication of all the letters and documents under his hand but also the forgery of the letters produced as those of Mrs. Reynolds—since these last unequivocally contradict the pretence communicated by Clingman. I therefore request you to say whether this inference be intended.
With Consideration, I am, Sir,
Your very obedient servant,
July 18, 1797.
James Monroe, Esqr.
Philadelphia, July 18, 1797.
I can only observe that in entering the note which bears my single signature I did not convey or mean to convey any opinion of my own, as to the faith which was due to it, but left it to stand on its own merits reserving to myself the right to judge of it, as upon any fact afterwards communicated according to its import and authenticity.
With due respect I am Sir
Your very humble servant
July 20, 1797.
In my last letter to you I proposed a simple and direct question, to which I had hoped an answer equally simple and direct. That which I have received, 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, the 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 knowledge, 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 exist would merit epithets the severest that I could apply.
With consideration I am Sir,
your very humble servant
James Monroe, Esq.
Philadelphia, July 21, 1797.
Your favour of yesterday (to use your own language) gives an indelicate and improper colouring to the topic to which it refers. I will endeavour in a few words to place the points in discussion where they ought to stand.
It was never our intention other than to fulfill our duty to the public, in our inquiry into your conduct, and with delicacy and propriety to yourself nor have we done otherwise.
To this truth, in respect to the inquiry, as to our conduct upon that occasion, you have so often assented, that nothing need now be said on that point. Indeed I should have considered myself as highly criminal, advised as I was of your conduct, had I not united in the inquiry into it: for what offence can be more reprehensible in an officer charged with the finances of his country, than to be engaged in speculation? And what other officer who had reason to suspect this could justify himself for failing to examine into the truth of this charge? We did so—apprized you of what we had done—heard your explanation and were satisfied with it. It is proper to observe that in the explanation you gave, you admitted all the facts upon which our opinion was founded, but yet accounted for them, and for your connection with Reynolds on another principle. ’Tis proper also to observe that we admitted your explanation upon the faith of your own statement, and upon the documents you presented, though I do not recollect they were proved or that proof was required of them.
You will remember that in this interview in which we acknowledged ourselves satisfied with the explanation you gave, we did not bind ourselves not to hear further information on the subject, or even not to proceed further in case we found it our duty so to do. This would have been improper, because subsequent facts might be disclosed which might change our opinion and in which case it would be our duty to proceed further. And with respect to Mr. Clingman we thought it highly proper to hear what he had to say, because we had before heard him on the subject, and because you had acknowledged all his previous information to be true, and because he was a party and had a right to be heard on it. You observe by the entry that we did not seek him, nor even apprize him of the explanation received from you, on the contrary that he sought us and in consequence of information received from Mr. Wolcott.
The subject is now before the public, and I repeat to you what I have said before, that I do not wish any opinion of my own to be understood as conveyed in the entry which bears my single signature, because when I entered it I had no opinion upon it, as sufficiently appears by my subsequent conduct, having never acted upon it, and deposited the papers with a friend when I left my country, in whose hands they still are. Whether the imputations against you as to speculation, are well or ill founded, depends upon the facts and circumstances which appear against you upon your defence. If you shew that they are ill founded, I shall be contented, for I have never undertaken to accuse you since our interview, nor do I now give any opinion on it, reserving to myself the liberty to form one, after I see your defence; being resolved, however, so far as depends on me, not to bar the door to free inquiry as to the merits of the case in either view.
This contains a just state of this affair so far as I remember it, which I presume will be satisfactory to you: and to which I shall only add that as on the one hand I shall always be ready to do justice to the claims of any one upon me, so I shall always be equally prepared to vindicate my conduct and character against the attacks of any one who may assail them.
With due respect, I am Sir,
Your obedient servant,
- City of Philadelphia, ss.
Mary Williams of the City aforesaid Boarding House Keeper maketh Oath that She is acquainted with Mrs. M. Reynolds formerly reputed to be the Wife of Mr. James Reynolds that her acquaintance commenced by the said Mrs. Reynolds calling upon her to obtain admission as a lodger which the Deponent declined that afterwards the Deponent frequently saw the said Mrs. Reynolds and also frequently saw her write that from this she the Deponent conceives herself to be well acquainted with the hand writing of the said Mrs. Reynolds and is well satisfied that the hand writing of the letters hereunto annexed numbered I—VIII—IX—X—XII—XIII is of the proper hand writing of the said Mrs. Reynolds to indentify which letters the more particularly this Deponent hath upon each of them endorsed her name.
- Robert Wharton
- One of the Aldermen of the
- City of Philadelphia.
- One of the Aldermen of the
Wednesday 5th, December, 1792.
- Honnoured Sir,
too well you are acquainted with my unfortenate setuvation, to give you an explanation thereof, I am informed by a Note from Mrs. Reynolds this Evening, wherein She informed Me that you have bin informed. that I Should have Said, if I were not discharged in two days. that I would make Some of the heads of the Departments tremble. now Sir I declare to god, that I never have said any Such thing. nor never have I said any thing, against any Head of a department whatever. all I have Said, Sir. is that I am under the Necessaty of letting you Know. which of the Clarks in the publick Office has givein out the List, of the ballance due. from the United States. to the individual States. and when it Comes to your knowledge, that the would tremble, Now Can I have an Enemy So base as to lodge such False allegations to my Charge, which is tottely Groundless. and without the least foundation Immaginable. now Sir, if you will give me the pleashure of waiting uppon your honour tomorrow I will give you every information that lies in my power Respecting the Matter. which I hope it will give you final Satisfaction. what I have done never Was with a wish to Rong the United States or any Other person whatever, the person that Administer On this mans pay. which he Received from the United States. had my monies in his hands and would not transfer the Certificate to Mrs. Clingman and myself untill wee signed the bond of indamnification. to him now dear Sir. that was our Situvation. to Secure our own Interest. wee executed the Bond, which was an Oversight of ours. now Sir Can you Suppose In my present Setuvation, that I would say any thing against you Sir or any Other head of department whatever, where it even was in my power which was not. Espicially where all my hopes and Dependance where. now dear Sir, think of my poor innocent. family. not of me, for them I Onely wish to live
I am, honnored Sir
Your most Obediant and
James W, Reynolds
Oliver Woolcot Esqr.
Having seen in a pamphlet published in Philadelphia entitled “The History of the United Stetes No. 5” a paragraph to the following Effect:
“During the late Canvass for the Election of a President, Webster, in his Minerva, gave a Hint that Mr. Hamilton would be an adviseable Candidate. A person in this City who chanced to see this News-Paper, wrote immediately to a correspondent in New-York. The letter desired him to put himself in the way of Mr. Hamilton and inform him that, if Webster should in future print a single paragraph on that Head, the papers referred to were instantly to be laid before the World. The Message was delivered to Mr. Hamilton and the Minerva became silent.”
I declare that the contents of the foregoing paragraph, as far as they relate to myself, are totally false. I never entertained an idea that Mr. Hamilton was a Candidate for the Presidency or Vice-Presidency at the late Election—I never uttered, wrote or published a Hint or Suggestion of the kind; nor did I ever receive from Mr. Hamilton or any other person either directly or indirectly, any Hint or Communication to discontinue any notice or Suggestions on that subject. I have examined the Minerva for several months previous to the late Election, and I cannot find a Suggestion published in that paper, of Mr. Hamilton’s being a Candidate as aforesaid, either from any Correspondent or republished from any other paper; nor have I the least knowledge what the suggestions in the foregoing paragraph allude to.
My own idea uniformly was, that Mr. Adams and Mr. Pinckney were the only Candidates supported by Mr. Hamilton and the friends of our Government in general.
Sworn the 13th, July 1797.
before me Abm. Skinner N.P. Noah Webster Jun.
Philadelphia, June 27, 1797.
It would have highly gratified me had it been in my power to furnish the relief you ask: but I am preparing for my departure and find, on winding up my affairs, that I shall not have one dollar to spare. It is therefore with sincere regret I have nothing better to tender than the sentiments of good will of
Your most obedient servant,
Philadelphia, June 28, 1797.
I know well that you were a clerk in the Treasury Department while I was in the office of Secretary of State; but as I had no relation with the interior affairs of that office, I had no opportunity of being acquainted with you personally, except the single occasion on which you called on me. The length of time you were in the office affords the best presumption in your favour, and the particular misunderstanding which happened to you with your principals may account for your not having obtained from them those certificates of character which I am not able to supply. I doubt not however that a knowledge of your conduct wherever you establish yourself will soon render all certificates unnecessary, and I sincerely wish you may obtain employment which may evince and reward good conduct.
I am, Sir,
Your very humble servant,
I have maturely considered your letter of yesterday delivered to me at about nine last night and cannot find in it cause of satisfaction.
There appears to me in the first place an attempt to prop the veracity of Clingman by an assertion which is not correct, namely that I had acknowledged all his previous information to be true. This was not and could not be the fact—I acknowledged parts of it to be true but certainly not the whole—on the contrary, I am able to prove that a material part of it, according to its obvious intent, is false, and I know other parts of it to be so—Indeed in one sense I could not have made the acknowledgment alledged without acknowledging myself guilty.
In the second place there appears a design at all events to drive me to the necessity of a formal defence while you know that the extreme delicacy of its nature must be very disagreeable to me. It is my opinion that as you have been the cause, no matter how, of the business appearing in a shape which gives it an adventitious importance, and this against the intent of a Confidence reposed in you by me, as contrary to what was delicate and proper, you recorded Clingman’s testimony without my privity and thereby gave it countenance, as I had given you an explanation with which you was satisfied and which could leave no doubt upon a candid mind it was incumbent upon you as a man of honour and sensibility to have come forward in a manner that would have shielded me completely from the unpleasant effects brought upon me by your agency. This you have not done.
On the contrary, by the affected reference of the matter to a defence which I am to make, and by which you profess your opinion is to be decided—you imply that your suspicions are still alive. And as nothing appears to have shaken your original conviction but the wretched tale of Clingman, which you have thought fit to record, it follows that you are pleased to attach a degree of weight to that Communication which cannot be accounted for on any fair principles. The result in my mind is that you have been and are actuated by motives towards me malignant and dishonourable; nor can I doubt that this will be the universal opinion when the publication of the whole affair which I am about to make shall be seen.
I am Sir,
your humble Servant,
Philadelphia July 22, 1797.
J. Monroe Esqr.
Philadelphia, July 25th, 1797.
I received your letter of the 22d instant by Major Jackson and have paid it the attention it merits.
Always anxious to do justice to every one, it would afford me pleasure could I answer it in a manner satisfactory to your feelings: but while the respect which I owe to myself forbids me replying in that harsh stile which you have adopted, that same respect with an attention to truth, according to the impressions existing on my mind, will compel me upon all occasions to place this affair on its true ground.
Why you have adopted this stile I know not. If your object is to render this affair a personal one between us you might have been more explicit, since you well know, if that is your disposition, what my determination is, and to which I shall firmly adhere. But if it is to illustrate truth and place the question on its true merits, as I have always been disposed to do, it appears illy calculated to promote that end.
I have constantly said and I repeat again that in making an entry which appears after our interview with you, and which ought to have been signed by the other gentlemen as well as myself I never intended to convey an opinion upon it, nor does it convey any opinion of my own, but merely notes what Clingman stated, leaving it upon his own credit only. But you wish me to state that this communication made no impression on my mind, and this I shall not state because in doing so I would be incorrect. On the other hand, I do not wish to be understood as intimating that this communication had absolutely changed my opinion, for in that event I should have acted on it, whereas, the contrary was the case as you well know. And with respect to the propriety of noting down that communication, I have no doubt on that point, since I should have noted any other that might have been made on the same topic by that or any other party. Indeed if it was proper to note the communications first received, it was equally so to note this, and that you did not disapprove. Had we proceeded in it you may be well assured we should have apprised of it, as in the other case, as well as from motives of candour towards you, as propriety on our own parts.
It is not my wish to discuss the fact whether you admitted all or only parts of Clingman’s communication in our interview with you, because upon the principle in which I stand engaged in this affair not as your accuser, but called on to explain, it is one of no importance to me. Such was the impression upon my mind; if however the contrary were the case, and you shewed to be so, I should be equally contented as if it were otherwise, since it is my wish that truth appear in her genuine character, upon the present, as upon all other occasions.
I am, Sir, with due respect
Your obedient servant,
New York, July 28, 1797.
Your letter of the 25th instant reached me yesterday.
Without attempting to analize the precise import of your expressions, in that particular, and really at a loss for your meaning when you appeal to my knowledge of a determination to which you say you should firmly adhere, I shall observe, in relation to the idea of my desiring to make the affair personal between us, that it would be no less unworthy of me to seek than to shun such an issue.—It was my earnest wish to have experienced a conduct on your part, such as was in my opinion due to me, to yourself, and to justice. Thinking as I did on the coolest reflection, that this had not been the case, I did not hesitate to convey to you the impressions which I entertained, prepared for any consequences to which it might lead.
Nevertheless, it would have been agreeable to me to have found in your last letter sufficient cause for relinquishing those impressions. But I cannot say that I do—The idea is every way inadmissible, that Clingman’s last miserable contrivance should have had weight to shake, though not absolutely change the opinion which my explanation had produced; and that having such an effect it should have been recorded and preserved in secret without the slightest intimation to me. There was a vast difference between what might have been proper before and after my explanation; though I am not disposed to admit, that the attention which was paid to such characters, even before, would have been justifiable, had it not been for the notes in my handwriting.
But the subject is too disgusting to leave me any inclination to prolong this discussion of it. The public explanation to which I am driven must decide, as far as public opinion is concerned, between us. Painful as the appeal will be in one respect, I know that in the principal point, it must completely answer my purpose.
I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
Philadelphia, July 31, 1797.
Your letter of the 28th which I have received claims a short answer.
I have stated to you that I have no wish to do you a personal injury. The several explanations which I have made accorded with truth and my ideas of propriety. Therefore I need not repeat them. If these do not yield you satisfaction, I can give no other, unless called on in a way which for the illustration of truth, I wish to avoid, but which I am ever ready to meet. This is what I meant by that part of my letter which you say you do not understand.
With due respect I am Sir,
Your humble servant,
Alexander Hamilton, Esq.
New-York, August 4, 1797.
In my opinion the ides of a personal affair between us ought not to have found a place in your letters or it ought to have assumed a more positive shape. In the state to which our correspondence had brought the question, it lay with you to make the option whether such an issue should take place. If what you have said be intended as an advance towards it, it is incumbent upon me not to decline it. On the supposition that it is so intended, I have authorized Major Jackson to communicate with you and to settle time and place.
I am Sir, Your humble servt.
James Munroe Esq.
Philadelphia, August, 6, 1797.
I do not clearly understand the import of your letter of the 4th instant and therefore desire an explanation. With this view I will give an explanation of mine which preceded.
Seeing no adequate cause by any thing in our late correspondence, why I should give a challenge to you, I own it was not my intention to give or even provoke one by any thing contained in those letters. I meant only to observe that I should stand on the defensive and receive one in case you thought fit to give it. If therefore you were under a contrary impression, frankly own you are mistaken. If on the other hand you meant this last letter as a challenge to me, I have then to request that you will say so, and in which case have to inform you that my friend Col. Burr who will present you this and who will communicate with you on the subject is authorized to give my answer to it, and to make such other arrangements as may be suit, able in such an event.
With due respect I am
Your very humble servt,
A. Hamilton Esq.
New-York, Aug. 9, 1797.
The intention of my letter of the 4th instant as itself imports, was to meet and close with an advance towards a personal interview, which it appeared to me had been made by you.
From the tenor of your reply of the 6th, which disavows the inference I had drawn, any further step on my part, as being inconsistent with the ground I have heretofore taken, would be improper.
block I am Sir, your humble servant,
James Monroe Esq.
N. B. It may be proper to observe that in addition to the original letters from Mrs. Reynolds, there are in the hands of the gentlemen with whom the papers are deposited, two original letters from her, one addressed to Mr. R. Folwell—the other to a Mrs. Miller, and both of them signed Maria Clingman, in the former of which she mentions the circumstance of her being married to Clingman.
- ↑ See the letter from Reynolds to Clingman in which he declares that he will have satisfaction of me at all events and that he trusts only to Clingman.