Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Rufus King, 29 July 1792

From Rufus King

[New York] Sunday 29 July 1792

Mr. Jay will be with you this week1—you will therefore have an opportunity to converse with him respecting our very unpleasant situation.2 All the measures which have been pursued have been calculated to induce the Legislature to call a convention to revise the decision of the canvassers. So far as I am able to form an Opinion, a majority of the Assembly are Clintonians, and if so, will not agree to call a convention—should this be the case, the business will then terminate.

I have only a few loose notes concerning the questions decided by the Canvassers.3 By turning up Bacon4 or Comins,5 you will find under the word Sheriff, the english cases referred to, which respect the appointment & discharge of that Office. The Lya[bi]lity of holding the Office beyound the Term for which sheriffs, constables, & other annual Officers are appointed must have arisen from the inconvenience to which the administration of Justice would have been exposed by vacancies in any of those Offices. The Law on that point cannot be doubted—the practice is common in this country as well as in England, and property to a great amount in both Countries is held under decisions of Juries returned by Sheriffs exercising their Office beyound their year.

Old sheriff to continue until another is appointed &c 2. Lill. 6336
Moore— 3337
1 Hales. P.C. 4998
Annually appointed Str. 6259
de facto Officers their acts valid. Lut. 50810—1 Hales p.C. 49911
10. Mod. 28812—Cro. Eliz. 69913
Andrew. 16314
2. Barnard. B.R. 193
Same 26415
12. Mod 25⟨3⟩16

Sheriffs who begin, shall end, an Exon ~17 11. Mod. 3518—6 Mod.

29019—Ld. Raym. 107220 1 Salk. 32221—Dyer &c &c22

Officer at Pleasure, is at the Kings pleasure—Salk. 466.23

Incompatibility of Office—the constitution declares the sheriffs incapable of holding any other Office.

Tioga votes rejected because they were transmitted by a Deputy’s Deputy.

a Deputy may appoint a Deputy to do a particular act—
1 Salk. 9524

Clinton votes rejected because the Deputy was appointed by Parol only—

Deputy may be without Deed 9. Rep. 51.b25
Cro Eliz. 6726
10. Co. 19227
3. Mod. 15028
Deputy may be by Parol Jenk. 110. pl. 1429

Yr’s sincerely

Rufus King

A Hamilton Esqr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1John Jay was going to Philadelphia to preside over the Supreme Court session which was to begin on August 6, 1792.

2King is referring to recent developments in the disputed gubernatorial election in New York, in which Governor George Clinton had defeated Jay. For background to this election, see Philip Schuyler to H, May 9, 1792, note 4; H to John Adams, June 25, 1792, note 2; H to King, June 28, July 25, 27, 1792; King to H, July 10, 1792; William Lewis to H, July 21, 1792.

3For the canvassers’ questions and King’s reply to them, see H to King, June 28, 1792, note 2.

4A New Abridgment of the Law. By Matthew Bacon, Of the Middle Temple, Esq; The Fifth Edition, Corrected; with Many Additional Notes and References of and to Modern Determinations (Dublin, 1786).

5A Digest of the Laws of England. By the Right Honourable Sir John Comyns, Knight; Late Lord Chief Baron of His Majesty’s Court of Exchequer. Continued down to the present Time, By a Gentleman of the Inner Temple (London, 1785).

6The Practical Register: or, A General Abridgment of the Law, As it is now practiced in the several Courts of Chancery, King’s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer, digested by way of Common-Place, under Alphabetical Heads, with great Variety of Cases extracted from the Reports. Together with All the Rules of the said Courts brought down to the Year 1719. Collected by the Author, John Lilly, Gent. In Two Volumes. The Second Edition (London, 1735), 633.

7Case 333, page 186. See Lewis to H, July 21, 1792, note 8.

8Historia Placitorum Coronœ. The History of the Pleas of the Crown By Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench. Published from the Original Manuscripts By Sollom Emlyn, of Lincoln’s-Inn, Esq. A New Edition: Carefully Revised and Corrected; with Additional Notes and References to Modern Cases Concerning the Pleas of the Crown. Together with an Abridgement of the Statutes Concerning Felonies Which Have Been Enacted since the First Publication of this Work. By George Wilson, Serjeant at Law. In Two Volumes (London, 1778), I, 499.

10The Reports and Entries of Sir Edward Lutwyche, Kt. Serjeant at Law, and late one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas. The several Cases therein are truly stated upon the respective Pleadings and Entries, in English. Also, Every Citation in the Report is carefully examin’d by the Law-Books to which they refer, and where they agree, and where they differ from the Point in Question made appear; and those ranged in that Order as in many Places to form an Argument where there was none before; with large Observations. Likewise Many obselete Words and difficult Sentences are explain’d; which are printed in a different Character. Composed in a plain and easy Method, and made very useful for Students and Practicers of the Common Law. W. Nelson of the Middle Temple, Esq. (London, 1718), 508.

11See note 8.

12See Lewis to H, July 21, 1792, note 13. King is referring to case 149, which appears on page 288.

13Reports of Sir George Croke, Knight, Formerly One of the Justices of the Courts of King’s-Bench and Common-Pleas, of Such Select Cases As Were Adjudged in the Said Courts During the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. Collected and Written in French By Himself; Revised and Published in English, By Sir Harbottle Grimston, Baronet, Master of the Rolls. the Fifth Edition, Corrected, with Marginal Notes and References to the Later Reports, and Other Books of Authority, By Thomas Leach, Esq. of the Middle Temple, Barrister at Law (London, 1791), 699.

14Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of King’s Bench, in the Eleventh and Twelfth Years of the Reign of King George the Second. By George Andrews, Esq. of the Middle Temple. The Second Edition. With Notes and References down to Michaelmas Term, 31 Geo. 3. and an Appendix containing some additional Cases not before Published. By George William Vernon, Esq. Barrister at Law (London, 1792), 170

15Reports of Cases Determined in the Court of King’s Bench, together with some other Cases; from Trin. 12 Geo. I. to Trin. 7 Geo. II. In Two Volumes (London, 1744), 193.

16Modern Reports: or Cases Adjudged in the Court of King’s Bench, from the Second Year of King William III. to the End of his Reign.… By a Late Barrister of the Middle-Temple (London, 1769), XII, 253.

17Exoneretur is Latin meaning “let him be relieved or discharged.”

18Modern Reports: or, A Report of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Court of King’s Bench, in the Time of Queen Anne, viz. From the Fourth to the Eighth Years of her Reign: During which the late Lord Chief Justice Holt presided in that Court. With Tables of the Principal Matters, &c. The Second Edition (London, 1769), XI, 35–36.

19Modern Cases, Argued and Adjudged in the Court of Queen’s Bench, at Westminster, in the Second and Third Years of Queen Anne, in the Time when Sir John Holt sat Chief Justice there. With Two Tables: The First, Of the Names of the Cases: And the Other, Of the special Matter therein contained. Vol. VI. The Fourth Edition. Reviewed and Corrected, and many Thousand New and Proper References added, never before Printed from all the Books of Reports, down to the Year 1757. By Danby Pickering, of Gray’s Inn, Esq; And Reader of the Law-Lecture to that Honourable Society (London, 1757), VI, 290–300.

20Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Courts of King’s Bench and Common Pleas, In the Reigns of The late King William, Queen Anne, King George the First, and King George the Second. Taken and collected By the Right Honourable Robert Lord Raymond, late Lord Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench. Vol. II. The Fourth Edition, Corrected; with Additional References to former and later Reports; By John Bayley (London, 1790), 1072–76.

21Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Court of King’s Bench: with Some Special Cases in the Courts of Chancery, Common Pleas, and Exchequer, Alphabetically digested under proper Heads: From the First Year of K. William and Q. Mary to the Tenth Year of Q. Anne. By William Salkeld, late Serjeant at Law. With Two Tables; one of the Names of the Cases, the other of the Principal Matters therein contained … (Dublin, 1791) I, 322.

23Salkeld, Reports, II, 466. See note 21.

24Salkeld, Reports, I, 95. See note 21.

25The Reports of Sir Edward Coke, Kt. In English, In Thirteen Parts Complete; With References to all the Ancient and Modern Books of the Law. Exactly Translated, and Compared with the First and Last Edition in French, and printed Page for Page with the same. To Which are Now Added, The Respective Pleadings, In English: The Whole newly Revised, and carefully Corrected and Translated, with many additional Notes and References, By George Wilson, Serjeant at Law (London, 1777), Part IX, 51 (b).

26Reports of Sir George Croke, 67. See note 13.

27This reference has not been found.

28Modern Reports: Being a Collection Of Several Special Cases In The Court of King’s Bench, In the Last Years of the Reign of King Charles II. In the Reign of King James II. And in the Two First Years of King William and Queen Mary. Together With the Resolutions and Judgements thereupon. The Fourth Edition. Reviewed and Corrected, and many Thousand New and Proper References added, never before Printed, from all the Books of Reports, down to the Year 1757. By Danby Pickering, of Gray’s Inn, Esq; And Reader of the Law-Lecture to that Honourable Society (London, 1757), III, 150.

29Eight Centuries of Reports: or Eight Hundred Cases Solemnly Adjudged in the Exchequer-Chamber, or Upon Writs of Error. Published Originally in French and Latin, by Judge Jenkins. Carefully Translated By Theodore Barlow of the Middle-Temple, Esq; With a large Table of the Principal Matters. The Third Edition (London, 1777), 110, Case 14.

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