Are we looking at the key to Alexander Hamilton’s secret correspondence? Perhaps. This grille cipher was found among Hamilton’s papers after his death, but the question of if or how the late general ever used it remains unanswered. In the letter, Nathaniel Pendleton, who served as Hamilton’s second in the infamous duel, is asking Evan Jones, whose name appeared on the envelope containing the grille, if he might be able to remember anything about the object’s intended use.
Grille cipher. The Nathaniel Pendleton Papers, MS 483. New-York Historical Society.
Nathaniel Pendleton. Letter to Evan Jones. November 5, 1808. The Nathaniel Pendleton Papers, MS 483. New-York Historical Society.