Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Morris, [7 June 1795]

From Robert Morris

Alexr Hamilton Esqre New York

Phila June 7. 1795

Dear Sir

You will receive herewith my letter of this date and a copy of one of the 28th ulto to Mr Church which I hope may meet your approbation. I remember you expressed some doubts as to Aliens property being covered even by this plan,37 I will not contend with your opinion on that point, but I will suggest one Idea, that an Alien can always in case of Attack free himself and the Estate of all danger by transferring his Shares to Citizens. Mr Fauchet & Mr Fauches38 have published two curious letters and when mine comes before the public39 they will appear deservedly contemptible. I am pinched for money but expect to provide for you in time to answer your wants, & remain

Dr Sir Yrs


LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

37By June, 1795, state laws included a variety of provisions regarding the rights of aliens to own land. In New York aliens could not own property in their own right until April 2, 1798, when the legislature enacted “An Act to enable Aliens to purchase and hold real Estates within this State, under certain restrictions therein mentioned” (New York Laws, 21st Sess., Ch. LXXII). Before that date, aliens had to petition the legislature individually to enact special laws to enable them to hold lands. See, for example, “An Act to enable certain persons therein named to purchase and hold real estates within this State” (New York Laws, 18th Sess., Ch. LXVII [April 8, 1795]).

By Section 40 of “An Act for reducing into one, the several acts concerning the land-office; ascertaining the terms and manner of granting waste and unappropriated lands; for settling the titles and bounds of lands; directing the mode of processioning, and presenting the duties of surveyors,” Virginia provided that “… any foreigner purchasing warrants for lands … shall be allowed the term of two years, either to become a citizen, or to transfer his right in such certificate of survey, to some citizen of this, or any other of the United States of America” (Virginia Laws, 1792 Sess., Ch. 24 [December 17, 1792]).

In Georgia only aliens who were citizens of friendly nations could rent or own land. See “An Act for ascertaining the Rights of Aliens, and pointing out a Mode for the Admission of Citizens” (Georgia Laws, 1785 Sess. [February 7, 1785]).

Maryland allowed foreigners to own land if they became citizens. See “An Act for the relief of certain foreigners who have settled within this state, further supplementary to the act for naturalization [of July, 1779]” (Maryland Laws, 1792 Sess., Ch. XIV [December 22, 1792]) and “An Act to extend to certain foreigners the benefit of An act passed November session, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, entitled, An act for the relief of certain foreigners who have settled within this state, further supplementary to the act for naturalization” (Maryland Laws, 1793 Sess., Ch. XXVI [December 28, 1793]).

New Jersey permitted alien ownership of land by “An Act to authorize aliens to hold and purchase real estates within this state” (New Jersey Laws, 18th Sess. [February 6, 1794]).

For the Pennsylvania laws enabling aliens to own property, see Tench Coxe to H, May 10, 1795, note 3.

38In this and subsequent references Morris misspelled the name of Jonas Fauche of Greene County, Georgia, who was a major in the Georgia militia.

39On June 10, 1795, Morris wrote to [Philadelphia] Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser: “In the month of April I received from Paris copies of two letters, one written by Jonas Fauches, the other by Joseph Fauchet, minister from the republic of France to the United States, which had been published there the 18th Nivos, 179[4], in a paper stiled ‘Feuille de la Republique.’ I wrote immediately to Mr. Fauchet, a letter dated the 13th of April, and received his reply on the 20th of that month. Copies of these letters are sent herewith, and also copies of sundry certificates … respecting the quality and titles of the Georgia lands which I have purchased, all of which I request you to insert in your useful paper …” ([Philadelphia] Dunlap and Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, June 15, 1795). Fauche’s letter to Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet is dated August 24, 1794; Fauchet’s letter to the Commissioner on Foreign Relations is dated September 18, 1794. This correspondence also appeared in a pamphlet (Observations on the North-American Land-Company, Lately Instituted in Philadelphia … [London: Printed by H. L. Galabin, Ingram-Court, for C. Barrell and H. Servante, American Agents, No. 6, Ingram-Court, Fenchurch-Street,… 1796], 83–96). In both the American Daily Advertiser and the pamphlet the correspondence is printed in English and French.

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