Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, 17 September 1798

To John Jay

New York Sepr. 17. 1798

Dear Sir

The death of Mr. Remsen1 presents a vacancy of Notary which will be sought. Two applications are made to me—one by James Inglis Junr.2 who has just finished a Clerkship with me & taken a license as Atty in the Supreme Court—the other William Coleman3 lately connected in law business with Col Burr.

Inglis is a young man of handsome abilities, of application & of irreproacheable conduct. He is a native of this City, his father4 has lately failed in business advanced in life & on the son must very much depend the support of the family. Worth & situation both conspire to recommend him strongly.

Coleman is a man of conspicuous talents and as far as I have learned of real worth. Notwithstanding his connection,5 his political principles are zealously good. It is in my knowlege that he has written several valuable speculations on the public occurrences of the period. You may have seen a little attack on Judge Lewis6 neatly executed—Of this Coleman was the author. He too is in a situation to excite sympathy. With little advantage from his present employment, he has now a wife & children of his brother (who lately died of the prevailing fever) to maintain. I mistake it, if he be not a man well worth cultivating.7 Adieu My Dr Sir,

Respect & Affe


G Jay

ALS, Columbia University Libraries.

1John H. Remsen was a New York City lawyer and one of seventeen notaries public in New York City.

2For Inglis’s admission to practice before the New York Supreme Court, see H to James McHenry, February 20, 1798, note 3.

3A native of Boston, Coleman had been a lawyer in Greenfield Massachusetts, a member of the militia in Shays’s Rebellion, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1795 and 1796. Because of major financial losses he sustained from his speculations in Yazoo lands, Coleman moved to New York City and practiced law. In early 1800 H was instrumental in securing Coleman’s appointment as clerk of the circuit of the New York Supreme Court (H to Jay, March 4, 1800; Jay to H, March 13, 1800). In 1801 Coleman became editor of the New-York Evening Post, which H helped to found.

4James Inglis owned a china and glass store at 115 Fly Market in New York City (David Longworth, Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory … (New York, 1798).

5This is a reference to the fact that Coleman and Aaron Burr were law partners.

6Morgan Lewis was a judge of the New York Supreme Court.

7Jay endorsed this letter:

“Genl Hamilton
ansd. 20
} Sep. 1798

candidates for the place of notary.” Jay’s letter to H of September 20, 1798, has not been found.

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