Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to William Beekman, 15 June 1801

To William Beekman1

New York June 15 1801

Dr Sir

You will remember that a considerable time since I gave you an opinion on a variety of matters arising upon your uncles Will.2 For this I have received no compensation; never that I remember having presented an account. I will therefore thank you to send me fifty Dollars for this service. As I am building3 I am endeavouring to collect my outstanding claims.4

With esteem I am Sir   Yr Obed ser

A Hamilton

Mr. W Beekman

ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1Beekman was a New York City merchant.

3H was building a country house, which he called the Grange. See the introductory note to H to Philip Schuyler, July 17, 1800.

4On the verso H wrote:

“The Executors of Wm. Beekman Esq

To A Hamilton Dr

For opinion on various points
respecting the Will & the Estate
} Dollars

Received June 20. 1801 the above sum of Fifty Dollars in full.

A Hamilton.”

On April 9, 1802, Robert Troup wrote to Rufus King: “Hamilton is closely pursuing the law, and I have at length succeeded in making him somewhat mercenary. I have known him latterly to dun his clients for money, and in settling an account with me the other day, he reminded me that I had received a fee for him in settling a question referred to him and me jointly. These indications of regard to property gives me hopes that we shall not be obliged to raise a subscription to pay for his funeral expenses …” (King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King description begins Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King (New York, 1894–1900). description ends , IV, 104).

For a similar request made by H, see H to——, October 1, 1800.

During this period in his law practice, H is credited with having drawn up a will which subsequently attracted considerable attention. On June 1, 1801, Robert Richard Randall, a retired seaman with considerable landholdings in New York City, made his will, leaving most of his estate to generate money for the establishment and support of a haven for retired and infirm sailors, to be called Sailors’ Snug Harbor and to be located in New York City. Randall, who was a privateer during the American Revolution, had an enduring interest in the welfare of sailors; in 1771 he had become a member of the Marine Society in New York, an institution which his father had founded for the relief of seamen and their families.

Randall died before July 10, 1801, the day on which his will was probated. For Randall’s will and information concerning the establishment of Sailors’ Snug Harbor on Staten Island in August, 1833, see Copy of the Last Will and Testament of the Late Robert Richard Randall, Esq., of the Act of Incorporation, And of the Other Acts of the Legislature of the State of New-York, Respecting the Sailors’ Snug Harbor: Together with the Names of the Persons Who Have Acted as Trustees of the Same, With Their By-Laws, &c. Published by Order of the Trustees (New York: Robert Carter, No. 58 Canal Street, 1848). See also the New York Herald Tribune, May 4, 1949; The New York Times, June 6, 1976.

At this time H became involved in another legal matter which affected the community. In 1799, when a new Episcopal church was completed and named St. Mark’s in the Bowery, the question arose whether the church should remain a chapel within the parish of Trinity Church, as was originally intended, or become an independent parish. An opinion which H and Richard Harison furnished served as the basis for the establishment of St. Mark’s as a separate church (Memorial of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, Containing an Account of the Services Held to Commemorate the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church on May 9, 1799. With the Several Discourses Delivered; An Historical Sketch of the Church, and Brief Biographies of the Rectors; And Interesting Information from the Parish Annals. Published by the Vestry [New York: Thomas Whittaker, 2 & 3 Bible House, 1899], 113). For an opinion given by H, Harison, and Troup on November 21, 1801, concerning the division of property between Trinity Church and St. Mark’s Church, see Memorial of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 185.

Although H’s part in drawing up the Randall will and his opinion concerning St. Mark’s Church have both received considerable publicity, the original of neither document has been found.

Index Entries