Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Constable, 3 May 1797

From William Constable1

[New York] May 3, 1797. “I forward to you … a Deed to Marvil Ellis for a tract of Land sold to him under a Contract2 (which I believe was enclosed as I cannot lay my hands on it). This Instrument was executed at the time that I was extremely ill & the mortgage & Bonds for the payment of ¾ s. the value of the Land were all perfected.… Mr Ellis expressing great anxiety to have the Writings completed as he was about to make sales to Settlers which he could not do without having the Title.… Not hearing from Mr. Ellis agreeably to his promise I began to feel some degree of solicitude least there might be some loop hole in the business … & I write the enclosed letter to afford you an opportunity of having any errors rectified which may have arisen.”

LC, MS Division, New York Public Library.

1Constable was a New York merchant and speculator in, among other things, lands in western New York State.

2This is a reference to the sale of lands in Jefferson County, New York, made by Constable to Marvel (not Marvil) Ellis of Pittstown, New York. The lands in question constitute the site of the present town of Ellisburg. The first settlers arrived at Ellisburg in 1797.

In an enclosure to the letter printed above, Constable described his transaction with Ellis as follows: “Original sale 88,446 Dlrs for 46000 Acres with allowances recd. Cash 20,000—66,335 Ballance on original Contract—Surplus Land agreed for 25th March as expressed in Deed the whole payable in 5 installments as per Bonds executed in New York remaining in the hands of Mr. Ellis to be delivered on the rect. of the Deed” (LC, MS Division, New York Public Library).

On the same day that Constable wrote the above letter to H, he wrote to Ellis: “I have requested Colo. Hamilton to deliver you the Conveyance for the Township & to receive the Mortgage with the addition of Mrs Ellis signature & the 5 Bonds. He will transmit you this letter from Albany where he is attending the Court” (LC, MS Division, New York Public Library).

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