Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Morris, 14 March 1796

From Robert Morris1

Alexander Hamilton Esqre

Phila 14 March 1796

Dear Sir

Agreeably to my promise I enclose herewith a List of the Lands which I propose to mortgage to you as Security for the debt due to Mr Church and I think the value more than Sufficient. For some of these Lands the Patents are issued, for some they are not issued, but the Patents are only considered as Evidence of Title, because when Warrants of Survey are granted the money is paid & a return of the Survey upon the Warrants vests the absolute Fee Simple Title in the Warantee who conveys by Deed Poll to whom he pleases. These Deeds Poll are commonly assigned from one person to another & he that holds them is always entitled to the Land and has the right to take out the patents when he pleases and it is only done when he pleases, so that many of the Oldest Estates in Pennsylvania are held to this day without having taken out the Patents. In all decisions in the Courts of Law such Titles have been recognized and confirmed. I have mentioned this matter that you may know every thing respecting the business and at the same time that every Objection may be Removed. I have given Orders for taking out the Patents which is a work of some time owing to the quantity of Business in the Land Office and the slow mode of doing it. In your last letter2 you supposed that Lands in the preferable Situations might be sold to the Injury or impairing of the Security offered. This was never intended by me, because if any of the Tracks proposed to be mortgaged should be sold either before or after the mortgage takes effect my intention is to substitute other property to your entire Satisfaction otherwise I could not think of making such sales. I believe the Lands standing in my name in the state of new york near Chemung3 or near the Pennsa Line as marked on DeWitts New Map4 are now worth about 2 of York Curry P Acre, and I expect soon to be in a Situation to sell the whole, that is about 38000 Acres. If you incline to buy Lands for Mr Church perhaps we may agree for those or some others, so as to discharge this debt with advantage to Mr Church, & in the mean time I am ready to execute the Mortgage as soon as you please.

I am Dr Sir Yrs &c.


LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

1This letter concerns Morris’s debt to John B. Church. For this debt and for Morris’s efforts to pay it, see the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795. See also Morris to H, July 20, November 16, December 18, 1795; January 15, March 6, 12, 1796.

2Letter not found.

3The town of Chemung was founded in 1788 in what was then part of Tioga County and is now Chemung County, New York.

4In 1792, Simeon DeWitt, surveyor general of New York, published A Map of the State of New York (Albany, 1792). In the following year he published a similar map in New York City. Morris is referring to the second of these two maps.

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