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.
Item Number: 52680
Philadelphia: John Bioren for John Fenno, 1797.
Rare first edition of one of the major causes célèbres in American governmental history. Octavo, bound in contemporary morocco, marbled endpapers. In near fine condition. This first edition of 1797 is rare as it was bought up by the Hamilton family in an effort to suppress it, but was ultimately reprinted in 1800 by Hamilton’s political enemies.
Alexander Hamilton resigned as Secretary of the Treasury in 1795; two years later "a baseless accusation against his honesty as secretary of the treasury, brought by Monroe and others, forced him to make public confession of his intrigue some years previous with a Mrs. Reynolds … [his confession] had the merit of a proud bravery, for it showed him willing to endure any personal humiliation rather than a slur on his public integrity" (DAB). Mrs. Hamilton tried to buy up all copies of the 1797 pamphlet, but some escaped. In 1800, in the midst of the Jefferson-burr election, anti-Federalists such as William Duane reprinted Hamilton's admission of infidelity.