Alexander Hamilton Papers

Coroner’s Inquest, [13 July–2 August 1804]

Coroner’s Inquest1

[New York, July 13–August 2, 1804]

City & County of Newyork } ss An Inquisition Indented taken for the People of the State of Newyork

At the third Ward of the City of Newyork in the County of Newyork, the thirteenth day of July in the year of Our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and four, and Continued by adjournment until the Second day of August in the year Aforesaid, before me John Burger Coroner for the Said City and County of Newyork, On View of the body of Alexander Hamilton, then and there to wit on the Said thirteenth day of July in the year last aforesaid, at the Ward City and County aforesaid lying dead, Upon the Oath of Alexander Anderson, George Minuse, John A Hardenbrook, Peter Bonnett, Elam Williams, John Coffin, John Mildeberger, David A Brower, David Lydig, Abraham Bloodgood, James Cummings, Amos Curtis, Isaac Burr Benjamin Strong and John D Miller

Good and Lawful men of the Said City and County of New york, duly chosen and Who being then and there duly sworn and Charged to enquire for the People of the State of Newyork, When Where how and by What means the said, Alexander Hamilton, Came to his death, do Upon their Oath say that Aaron Burr, late of the Eighth Ward of the Said City in the Said County Esquire and Vice President of the United States, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the Instigation of the devil, on the eleventh day of July in the year last aforesaid, with force and Arms, in the County of Bergen and State of New Jersey in and upon the Said Alexander Hamilton in the peace of God and of the people, of the Said State of New Jersey, then and there being, feloniously wilfully and of his Malice aforethought, did make an Assault, and that the Said Aaron Burr, a Certain Pistol of the Value of One Dollar Charged and loaded with Gun powder and a leaden bullet Which he the Said Aaron Burr, then and there had and held in his right hand, to, at, and against the right-Side of the Belly of the Said Alexander Hamilton did then and there shoot off and discharge, by means Whereof he the Said Aaron Burr feloniously Wilfully and of his Malice aforethought, did then and there give unto him the Said Alexander Hamilton, With the leaden bullet aforesaid, so as Aforesaid Shot off and discharged out of the Pistol Aforesaid by the force of the Gun powder aforesaid upon the right Side of the belly of him the said Alexander Hamilton a little above the Hip, one mortal Wound, penetrating the Belly of him the Said Alexander Hamilton of Which said mortal wound he the Said Alexander Hamilton, from the Said Eleventh day of July in the year aforesaid, until the twelfth day of July, in the Same year, as well in the County of Bergen in the State of New Jersey, aforesaid, as also at the Eighth Ward of the City of New york in the County of Newyork aforesaid, did languish and languishing did live; on Which twelfth day of July in the Said year the Said Alexander Hamilton at the Said Eighth Ward of the said City in the Said County of New york, of the mortal wound aforesaid died, and the Jurors aforesaid on their Oath Aforesaid do further say that William P Van Ness late of the first Ward of the City of Newyork in the County of Newyork aforesaid Attorney at Law, and Nathaniel Pendleton late of the Same place Counsellor at Law, at the time of Committing the felony and Murder Aforesaid feloniously, wilfully and of their Malice aforethought ware present, abetting aiding assisting Comforting and maintaining the said Aaron Burr to kill and murder the Said Alexander Hamilton in manner aforesaid, And so the Jurors aforesaid upon their Oath aforesaid do say the Said Aaron Burr and the Said William P Van Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton him the Said Alexander Hamilton in Manner and by the Means aforesaid, feloniously Wilfully and of their Malice Aforethought, did kill and Murder against the peace of the People of the State of New York and their Dignity.

In Witness Whereof as Well the aforesaid Corner as the Jurors aforesaid have to this Inquisition put their seals on the Second day of August and in the year One thousand Eight hundred and four and at the place aforesaid.

John Burger coroner

Alexnd Anderson

Geo. Minuse

John A Hardenbrook

Peter Bonnett

Elam Williams

John Coffin

John Mildeberger

David A Brower

David Lydig

Abm. Bloodgood

James Cummings

Amos Curtis

Isaac Burr

Benj Strong

J. D. Miller2

DS, in the handwriting of John Burger and signed by Burger and fifteen other individuals, Mr. C. P. Greenough Fuller, New York City.

1On July 26, 1804, Nathaniel Pendleton wrote to William Bard: “The Coronor’s Inquest have been sitting here ever since the day after his death. They have examined many witnesses and among others myself. But on my representations that what I could say would be of a nature necessarily to implicate myself they acquiesced & examined no farther. They have had Matth L Davis before them who refused to answer certain questions, and they Committed him to Bridewell with one of the Boatman who refused to answer. They have arrested Colo. [Marinus] Willet, & had a warrant against Irvine who has fled as I understand. Their object was to ascertain the truth of a report that at a caucus of these and some others it was agreed Burr should fight one or the other of four or five characters. You will see by the Evening Post that Coleman is Endeavoring to prove that it was predetermined, and induced by motives of revenge” (ALS, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York).

2Among the audited bills for the coroner’s inquest is the following bill, dated August 1, 1804, which the coroner submitted to the Corporation of the City of New York:

“1804 May 1 To View on the body of a Man Unknown Daver St Wharf Drowned 3 75
3 “ Do Catherine Darby No 54 Chamber St Do 3 75
9 “ Do Newborn Infant at the Catholick B Ground 3 75
20 “ Inquest Joseph Nesme City Tavern, Suicide 5 25
22 “ View, a man unknown George Slip Drowned 3 75
23 “ Do Sam a B M—Slave to the keeper of Hoboken ferry Do 3 75
28 “ Do Doctor Watson N355 Water Street— Sudden 3 75
30 “ Do Man Unknown Jones Wharf Drowned 3 75
31 “ Do Thomas Dunaway, 168 Broad Way Accidental 3 75
June 3 “ Inquest, Samuel S Lane—Debtors Goal, Natural 5 25
5 “ Do Alexander Lamb Do Suicide 5 25
7 “ Do Henry Hannan Old Slip Do 5 25
8 “ View Mary Coran Lumbard St Sudden 3 75
10 “ Do John Dyckman labourer at Debtors Goal Do 3 75
Do “ Do Hariott Porter Bedlow St Do 3 75
Do “ Do Man Unknown at the Batery Drowned 3 75
“ Do John Cavany Kipses Bay } 6 miles
“ for going and returning
Do 3 75
0 37½
29 “ Do John Van Dolson 38 Barclay St Accidental 3 75
[July] 2 “ Do Margaret Hughs, White Hall Drowned 3 75
3 “ Do Henry Boshar Burling Slip Do 3 75
6 “ Inquest Elizabeth Thomas Greenwich St Suicide 5 25
9 “ View Newborn Infant N 4 Orange St 3 75
Do “ Inquest Nathaniel Morrison Dr Goal Natural 5 25
11 “ Do Alexander Hamilton Robertson St Murdered 5 25
14 “ View, Man Unknown at Catherine Slip Drowned 3 75
18 “ Do Black Man Unknown Rutgers Do Do 3 75
19 “ Inquest Angus McDonall Dr Goal Natural 5 25
26 “ View Jack, B M, Slave to Peter W Green ⟨–⟩ St Drowned 3 75
27 “ Do Newborn Infant Pine St Wharf 3 75
$121 12½”

(AD, Historical Documents Collection, on deposit at Queens College, City University of New York).

H’s residence in New York City in 1804 was at 54 Cedar Street. John B. Church lived at 25 Robinson Street, and it was from that address that H’s funeral procession to Trinity Church started.

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