Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James A. Bayard, 29 December 1801

From James A. Bayard

Washington, December 29. 1801. States that “the cause of Messrs. Graves & Barnwell1 in which you were so obliging to mention my name as Counsel to the Plaintiffs” was argued in the Supreme Court of the United States and decided in favor of the defendant.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The case of Graves et al. v The Boston Marine Insurance Company was heard before the Supreme Court of the United States on December 19, 1801, with Bayard arguing for the plaintiffs and Samuel Dexter arguing for the defendant. On December 21, 1801, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the lower court in favor of the defendant (RG 267, MS Minutes of the Supreme Court, National Archives). See also 2 Cranch description begins William Cranch, Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, in February Term, 1804, and February Term, 1805 (New York: I. Riley, Co., 1806). description ends , 419–44.

John B. Graves and George B. Barnwell were New York City merchants. Dexter, who had resigned on May 6, 1801, as Secretary of the Treasury in Thomas Jefferson’s administration, had returned to the private practice of law in Washington.

An entry in H’s Law Register, 1795–1804, reads:

“John B. Graves }
Underwriters on Cargo
of Northern Liberties

Letter 20th April 1801 desiring to retain me: no retainer” (D, partially in H’s handwriting, New York Law Institute, New York City). No letter dated April 20, 1801, concerning this case has been found. See also Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., ed., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964–). description ends , forthcoming volumes.

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