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Lot 4: (ALEXANDER HAMILTON) INCREDIBLE RARE BOOK CHARGE OF SPECULATION AGAINST ALEXANDER HAMILTON, LATE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, IS FULLY REFUTED

One of a Kind Collectibles Auctions, LLC

September 10, 2020
Miami, FL, US

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Description

OBSERVATIONS ON CERTAIN DOCUMENTS CONTAINED IN NO. V & 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. PHILADELPHIA: PRINTED FOR JOHN FENNO, BY [JOHN] BIOREN, 1797 8vo (8 7/8 x 5 1/2 in. Boards and spine fresh and clean, scattered foxing. Frontpiece has some paper loss not affecting text, which has been professionaly restored. 


First edition of the notorious "Reynolds pamphlet." In the summer of 1791, twenty-three-year-old Maria Reynolds called on Hamilton at his Philadelphia residence, claiming that her husband had abandoned her and that she hoped that Hamilton, as a fellow New Yorker, would be willing to help her relocate to that city. (Hamilton’s family was at Albany at the time, with Elizabeth’s parents.) Hamilton agreed to see Mrs. Reynolds that evening, and it soon became clear, as Hamilton later wrote in the ''Reynolds Pamphlet,'' that something ''other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable'' to Mrs. Reynolds. And, so, the young woman became his mistress. The affair continued into December, when Hamilton received a letter from James Reynolds (who may have been conspiring with his wife all along) stating that he knew about the affair, could no longer live with his wife because of it, and proposing that Hamilton pay him $1,000 to quit Philadelphia, leaving his wife for Hamilton do with as he thought proper. Hamilton paid the blackmail and—incredibly—continued the affair. James Reynolds, however, did not leave town, and he continued to solicit and receive smaller payments from Hamilton after each assignation. In November 1792, Reynolds, who had been involved in dubious financial dealings with Revolutionary War pensions, was imprisoned for forgery. When Hamilton ignored his plea for help, Reynolds instead sought a meeting with his Democratic-Republican rivals, including James Monroe, claiming that Hamilton had instigated an affair with his wife and been engaged in illegal speculation while Secretary of the Treasury. When confronted, Hamilton told his political enemies of Reynolds’s blackmail scheme, and while he admitted, as he was later to write in this pamphlet, that he was guilty of an ''irregular and indelicate amour,'' he was able to convince them that he had not been involved in speculation.


Hamilton seems to have finally ended his relationship with Maria Reynolds at this point (she remarried in 1795), and there the entire episode might have terminated, but in the summer of 1797 the affair and the accusation of speculation came to public notice in two scorching pamphlets by James Callendar. Facing ruin, Hamilton responded by issuing this extraordinary pamphlet, in which he fully admitted to the affair with Maria Reynolds but disproved the charge of financial impropriety. This first edition is very uncommon since Hamilton's family attempted to find and destroy as many copies as they could. The pamphlet proved so damaging to the author's reputation that it was reprinted by his anti-Federalist opponents in 1800. Evans 37571; Howes H120; Sabin 29970

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We ship via FedEx & USPS upon clearance of payment. Shipping includes expedited air shipping and insurance with signature confirmation. You will be notified of all shipping charges upon confirmation of your winning bid. Please alow for 7-14 days for packaging and shipping.

There is a 20% buyer's premium payable on top of the hammer price. This amount will be added to the winning bid. Payment methods accepted include personal and cashier's checks, and wire transfers. We do not accept credit cards. All payment must be made in U.S. dollars. FL sales tax of 7.00% is charged as applicable. Full payment is due within 14 days of the ending auction date unless an exception is made in writing. Late payments have a 2.5% fee per month added to them.