Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Oliver Wolcott, Junior, 3 October 1802

To Oliver Wolcott, Junior

New York October 3. 1802

My Dear Sir

I lately received a letter from you, transmitting a pamphlet.1 The latter, I have read with much pleasure. If party spirit admitted of candor, I should say that it was calculated to satisfy candid men of whatever party. Pains will be taken to disseminate it.

You may remember that when you were last in this City, I spoke to you about some lands which I owned in the Ohio Company tracts.2 Inclosed is an extract from my deed which contains the only description of it in my possession. In a plan communicated to me for the sale of such of the shares as belonged to non resident proprietors, I find the following tariff of values—(viz)

 8 acre lots at 10 Dollars per acre 80
 3 do at 3 do 9
 House lots 20
 160 acre lots at 2½ do 400
 100 do a 3 do 300
 640 do a 1½ 960
 262 do a 2 524
1173 Total of a right. 2293

This tariff was formed by Judge Putnam,3 who appears to have thought it not exaggerated.

My hope has been that an exchange may be made of these lands for settled farms in Connecticut. If this could be done so as to realise to me the price of a dollar per acre round in intrinsic value, I should be content. You encouraged me by your opinion, that the plan might possibly succeed. If so I authorise you on my part to give it effect; relying upon your care that the value I mentioned will be obtained & that the titles will be unexceptionable.4 I do not mean to sell speedily the lands which may be procured in exchange.

Our friends are of opinion that the Fœderal cause looks up in this state.5 How is it in Connecticut?

Yrs. very truly

A Hamilton

O Wolcott Esq

ALS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.

3Rufus Putnam, a veteran of the American Revolution, was one of the founders of the Ohio Company in 1786 and became its superintendent. The company owned one and one-half million acres of land on the north bank of the Ohio River. Putnam was a judge in the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio from 1790 to 1792, brigadier general in the United States Army from 1792 to 1793, and surveyor general of the United States from 1796 to 1803.

4H did not exchange his lands in the Ohio Company for lands in Connecticut. According to a statement which he prepared shortly before his death, he estimated the value of his shares in the Ohio Company at six thousand dollars. See “Statement of my property and Debts July 1. 1804.” In 1806 H’s executors sold some of his Ohio Company property for seventeen hundred dollars (two conveyances, April 25, 1806 [DS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress]).

5On August 24, 1802, Robert Troup wrote to Rufus King: “Federalism is looking up. At the last 4th of July the toasts everywhere given prove that Hamilton is regaining that general esteem and confidence, which he seems to have lost, and his standing is very much our political thermometer” (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, 161).

Contrary to Troup’s optimism, the election results in New York were favorable to the Republican party. See “Speech on Congressional Election in New York City,” April 21, 1802.

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