Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Delafield, [22 May 1786]

To John Delafield1

[New York, May 22, 1786]

Mr. Hamilton requests Mr. Delafield to send him a list of the bills negotiated for Lady Anne Polnitz2 on or account of the house.3

AL, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Delafield, who came to New York from England in 1783, was a broker in securities.

2Anne Stuart, baronne von Poellnitz, the wife of Frederick Charles Hans Bruno, baron von Poellnitz, had purchased twenty-two and one-half acres of land in Manhattan, situated on present-day Broadway between Eighth and Tenth streets. The land was part of the former estate of Andrew Elliot, receiver general of the Province of New York under the Crown. Poellnitz, who was in England in May, 1786, used the land as an experimental farm that became widely popularized. In 1790 he sold the farm to Robert Richard Randall, founder of Sailors’ Snug Harbor and one of H’s clients (H to William Beekman, June 15, 1801, note 4[PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , XXV 389]). See “Alexander Hamilton. Certificate to cancel a mortgage from Frederick Charles Hans Bruno Poellnitz, N. Y.,” June 5, 1790 (DS, MS 225, New York State Library, Albany).

H was involved in the purchase and sale of this land because he managed Poellnitz’s business and personal affairs in America. See H’s “Cash Book,” March 1, 1782–1791 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , III, 28–29).

3Following this letter is a list, which is not in H’s handwriting and which reads:

“Read & Bogardus £400   2 of 200  
S Franklin & Co 300   1 of 300  
J & H Waddington 400   1 of 400  
Haydock & Warr 250   1 of 250  
J & H Shotwell 150   1 of 150  
Robt. Bowne 301.10 81.10
E. K. Royston 110   1 of £110  
J Delafield 200   2 of 100.”  

In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, there are three documents concerning the bills of exchange which H mentions in his letter. The first is entitled “Account of Bills of Exchange sold for Mr. White Matlack drawn by Lady Anne Poelnitz,” which is a list similar to the one printed above. The second document, entitled “Bills sold for W. Matlack” contains the same list as the first document as well as a statement by Matlack concerning payment of the bills, dated May 24, 1786. The third document is dated April 11, 1785, and is a bill of exchange for £200 drawn by Lady Poellnitz on Jacob Read and Robert Bogardus, New York City merchants.

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