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Web Letter

It was common knowledge that Hamilton liked the ladies. Mrs. Washington commented on it in a letter to Washington during the war. As the article stated, he was forced to reveal the affair because his ethics at work were called into question. Blackmail is a nasty business, and in revealing the affair, he prevented its use to compromise his work. He behaved stupidly, but broke no laws. It is also common knowledge that Jefferson and Franklin liked the ladies too.

What is important about Hamilton is his work, and how, in his "Report on Manufactures," he presented the economic plan that made America a major industrial power. He provided the model for economic development that many nations have followed, and should still be following. We would not have been the arsenal of democracy through two world wars without his work. His good work as an advocate for the Constitution is well known and important, but that was a collaborative venture. The "Report on Manufactures" was his alone, and his genius gave us the industrial base that made us a world power. He is so important, that I believe we should have a national holiday on his birthday. Hamiton gave us power and prosperity!

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Mar 20 2008 - 1:08pm

Web Letter

Robert Hendrickson's 1982 biography of Alexander Hamilton provides an interesting theory about the Reynolds Affair. Hendrickson tells how Hamilton's college roommate, Robert Troup, wrote him a letter warning that Jefferson and Madison were in New York City, engaged in a "passionate courtship" of Aaron Burr. Shortly thereafter, Burr came to Philadelphia, where Hamilton was serving as Treasury Secretary, and Mrs. Reynolds came to Hamilton. Mr. Reynolds had been Burr's client, Hendrickson explains, and Burr later served as her divorce attorney. Hendrickson thinks that Jefferson and Madison urged Burr to destroy Hamilton's career and that Burr, a notorious womanizer, hatched the plot of sending the beautiful Maria Reynolds to seduce Hamilton. Burr was one of the three members of Congress who first came to Hamilton to voice suspicions about speculation in the Treasury Department. Hendrickson thinks that Hamilton suspected that Burr was behind the Mrs. Reynolds business and that's why he always spoke so harshly of Burr. Jefferson later claimed, suspiciously, never to have met Burr before he came to Philly.

In order to pay the blackmail to Mr. Reynolds, Hamilton had to borrow money (over $1000) from friends. The revelations of the Reynolds Pamphlet did severe damage to Hamilton's career. When he resigned his post as Treasury Secretary, he insisted that Congress do a full investigation into his service. They did, and he was declared blameless of any malfeasance. Having given up a lucrative law practice for government service, Hamilton had hoped for some gratitude from his country. Instead, he found himself fighting for his good name.

Carol V. Hamilton

Pittsburgh, PA

Mar 18 2008 - 4:32pm