From Barent Gardenier1
Kingston [New York], October 6, 1803. “In the course of our political wr⟨angling⟩ I have engaged in a Controversy with Gen. Ar⟨mstrong.⟩2 Perhaps I have touched a little too hard on ⟨the judge⟩ who presided at Lt. Croswells Trial.…3 I enclose ‘a View of the whole ground’, confident that in a Case of this Kind you will give us all Aid in your power.…”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Gardenier was a Federalist and a lawyer in Kingston, New York.
This letter concerns the case of The People of the State of New York v Samuel S. Freer, in which H served as counsel for the defendant. On August 6, 1803, during Harry Croswell’s trial for libel in the New York Circuit Court, Freer, who was the publisher of the [Kingston] Ulster Gazette, printed an article concerning the trial. On November 22, 1803, after two hearings in the Supreme Court of New York, the state issued an attachment against Freer for contempt of court on the basis that Freer’s article was printed “to prejudice and Influence the Public mind, and to Intimidate and Influence this Court.…” On February 14, 1804, the court ordered Freer to pay a ten dollar fine (MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1803–1807 [Historical Documents Collection, on deposit at Queens College, City University of New York]; MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1801–1805. [Hall of Records, New York City]). See also Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , I, 800.
2. John Armstrong, a veteran of the American Revolution and a resident of Dutchess County, New York, was formerly a Federalist who had become a Republican as a result of his opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts. He was a member of the United States Senate from 1800 to 1802.
3. Morgan Lewis, chief justice of the New York Supreme Court, presided at Harry Croswell’s trial for libel when the Circuit Court held for Columbia County convened at Claverack in July, 1803. For information concerning Croswell’s trial, see Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , I, 775–848. See also H to William Rawle, June 26, 1803.