To James Watson
[New York, May, 1796]
The handsome general retainer you have offered me & the handsome manner in which the Offer is made claim my acknowlegement.1 But it will not consist with any rule of Action to avail myself of it. I have in other instances engaged for Individuals on these terms, to take as a retainer 100£ and afterwards to charge services performed at the established rates. Though it was my intention to avoid this in future, yet if you desire it, I will add you to the list. But it must except the priorities already incurred which are of William Constable Alexander Macombe LeRoy Bayard & McEvers Williamson of Genesee.2
Yrs with esteem & regard
P.S To prove to you however that I am not unmindful of my own interest I send you the following account
|To opinion concerning arbitration Bond||Ds 5|
|To services in negotiating & settling your
business with William Constable3
|March 3 By Cash||50|
|Ballance due AH||55|
The first 50 dollars I consider as a Retainer & for my opinion given at the time.4
James Watson Esqr.
ALS, from a typescript supplied by an anonymous donor.
4. An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, for June 10, 1796, reads: “Cash Dr. to James Watson
|for this sum received of him for Retainer||250—|
|for this sum received of him for ballance of Account||55|
(AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).