Essay Example on Maria and James Reynolds Randall








Within the subsequent days of Reynolds job application rejection Hamilton felt the snare close He received a letter from James Reynolds accusing him of destroying a happy home However instead of leaking this information to the press or Mrs Hamilton Reynolds supported his their relationship for financial gain In the first letter James sent he proposed Hamilton award him a total of 1 000 for his silence Hamilton seeking complete confidentiality from Reynolds complied by paying the sum in two installments and discontinued any connections with the Reynolds Serratore Alexander Hamilton s Adultery The following month Hamilton received multiple letters from both Mr and Mrs Reynolds begging him to resume the affair James wrote to Hamilton informing him that he was welcome to restart relations with Maria as a friend In her notes Maria implored Hamilton to come over as she seemingly threatened to commit suicide Hamilton thusly resumed his secret meetings with Maria After every assignations ensued Reynolds would request a small loan comparably less than his original demand of 1 000 but still enough to create economic strife in Hamilton s bank account Brookhiser 99 Hamilton s covert backstairs visits continued until August 1792 when his wife once more left in the summer to give birth to their fifth child John Church Hamilton in Saratoga Thus officially ceasing the Reynolds affair However this is not the last Hamilton would have to hear of this sordid event Randall 409 James Reynolds a man accustomed to committing crimes to accrue wealth was finally arrested in the November of 1792 for hatching a failed scheme with Jacob Clingman in an attempt to defraud the government This endeavor included collecting the pension and back pay claims of dead Revolutionary War soldiers Reynolds requested aid from Hamilton to drop the charges however Hamilton refused In desperate final attempts to save themselves Reynolds reiterated the tale that he told Hamilton that he could prove there was corruption within Treasury Department while Clingman told a former employer Congressman Frederick Muhlenberg that Reynolds had material proof able to tarnish the reputation of the Treasury Secretary Brookhiser 110 Muhlenberg followed by Senator James Monroe and Congressman Abraham Venable both Virginia Democratic Republicans with close connections to the political rivals of Hamilton Thomas Jefferson and James Madison visited Reynolds in jail He testified that Hamilton was connected to illegal speculations with Treasury funds

The three politicians also went to visit Reynolds wife to validate her husband s wild accusations They received multiple damning letters Hamilton apparently wrote to Maria Randall 413 Despite the differing political views held between the men Hamilton garnered respect as a government official so instead of alerting their suspicions to President Washington they decided to question Hamilton first On December 15 the three congressmen confronted Hamilton about the Reynolds story bringing forward the letters they had gotten from Mrs Reynolds Brookhiser 113 Hamilton fully aware of how a shameful financial scheme could ruin his political career he fully admitted to his affair with Maria Reynolds and refuted the charge of speculation by showing several of the receipts he had saved Completely satisfied that the affair had no affiliation with government funds all three of accusers agreed to respect Hamilton s privacy However Monroe in violation of this agreement had made copies of the letters Maria Reynolds had given to him and leaked them to Jefferson Randall 416 The accusations of speculation made by the press left Hamilton fearing that his political reputation as well as his national bank plans would be put in jeopardy if the public were to believe the allegations To the dismay of his friends in the summer of 1797 Hamilton decided to quash the allegations once and for all by publishing the entire story behind his relationship with Maria and James Reynolds Randall 420 In the pamphlet titled Observations on Certain Documents Hamilton painfully told his side of the story by offering the letters from James and Maria Reynolds for public view He would argue that he was a victim of an elaborate extortion scheme and that his only real crime was the affair Randall 421

While the pure candor put into the pamphlet dispelled all suggestions of Hamilton s connection to speculation within the Treasury Department it ultimately destroyed Hamilton s reputation embarrassed the Hamiltons and stopped any further discussion of Hamilton s ascendance to the presidency Hamilton decided to blame Monroe as the cause for all of his misfortune This anger with Monroe surely would have boiled over into a duel if not assuaged by the future murderer of Alexander Hamilton Aaron Burr However this grievance between the two not only lasted until Hamilton s untimely death in 1804 but also the rest of his wife s life Mrs Hamilton who by all account miraculously forgave her husband also held Monroe guilty for her husband's political ruin For the next 50 years until her death at the age of 97 Elizabeth Hamilton attempted to repair the tarnished legacy her husband left behind Serratore Alexander Hamilton s Adultery

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