Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Morris, 20 May 1797

From Robert Morris1

Philada. May 20th. 1797

Dear Sir

I cannot account for the little notice that has been taken of some of my latest letters to you, but I hope the present will obtain your favourable attention. When Capt. Williamson2 agreed to give up the Lien which my Deed gave to Colo Smith, it was expressly mention’d by me & agreed by him that the Suit which had been Commenced in the Court of Chancerry by Colo Walker should be withdrawn & the injunction that had been issued & served on me was to be removed, otherwise I could not make use of the remaining property. Mr Sterett3 to whom I have Conveyed 175 M Acres in searching the Public Offices & obtaining Certificates got out of the Chancerry Court those which you will find inclosed herein, which as they now stand would be an effectual Bar to any thing been done with the Lands. I pray therefore that you will obtain a discharge of the injunction & let a proper Certificate thereof be added to these & then the whole be returned to me & let this be done with all possible expedition as these Papers are to be sent immediately to Europe. I wro⟨te⟩ also to Colo Walker for the Deed I gave to Colo Smith.4 He did not think it worth while to Answer my letter. I have known the time when he would have thought differently & perhaps I may notwithstanding present appearances, See that time again. I ought to have had that Deed with the others & this Chancerry business should have been finished. As I cannot think that you mean to Neglect me, I shall be thankfull if you will have these things done for Dr Sir

Your faithfull Friend & Servant

Robt Morris

PS Mr Sterett told me that you had an Idea that the Land Conveyed to him was the same that is mortgaged to you.5 I do not know but their may be ⟨some⟩6 interference in a part & ⟨there⟩fore a Conditional ⟨ad⟩dition was made to the Deed.


Alexr Hamilton Esqr
New York

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

1Morris, who had been a partner in the Philadelphia mercantile firm of Willing, Morris, and Company, had served in the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1778, in the Provincial Assembly from 1775 to 1776, in the Pennsylvania legislature from 1778 to 1779, 1780 to 1781, and 1785 to 1787. From July, 1781, to November, 1784, he held the office of Superintendent of Finance. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and a United States Senator from 1789 to 1795. By 1795 he was involved in numerous and complicated land speculations which led to his imprisonment for debt in February, 1798.

This letter concerns a debt which Morris owed to William Pulteney and William Hornby and which had been negotiated by William S. Smith acting as their representative. When this letter was written, Benjamin Walker, acting on behalf of Pulteney and Hornby, was trying to collect this debt, and he had instituted a Chancery suit against Morris. For an account of this debt and Walker’s efforts to collect it, see the introductory note to Morris to H, April 27, 1796. See also Morris to H, May 3, 10, 17, 31, 1796, January 7, 23, February 9, 27, March 3, 8, 9, 27, 1797; H to Charles Williamson, May 17–30, 1796.

2Charles Williamson was the agent for Pulteney and Hornby in the United States.

4Morris to Walker, April 14, 1797 (LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress).

5This is a reference to one hundred thousand acres of land in the Genesee country which Morris had mortgaged to H to secure a debt which Morris owed to John B. Church. For an account of this debt and Morris’s efforts to pay it, see the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795. See also Morris to H, March 31, July 20, November 16, December 18, 1795, January 15, March 6, 12, 14, 30, April 27, May 3, 10, 17, 18, 31, 1796, March 3, 27, 1797; William Lewis to H, May 4, 1796; H to Williamson, May 17–30, 1796.

6Material within broken brackets has been taken from the letter book copy.

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