Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Jonathan Dayton, 9 August 1794

From Jonathan Dayton1

Elizabethtown [New Jersey] August 9, 1794. “Will you be so obliging as to turn your attention immediately to the subject of Judge Symmes’s purchase between the Miamis, in order to have the different writings prepared for executing upon his arrival in Philadelphia, which will be in four or five days? …”2

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Dayton was a member of the House of Representatives from New Jersey.

For information concerning John Cleves Symmes’s purchase of western lands, see H to William Rawle, January 6, 1793; March 13, June 21, 1794; Dayton to H, June 26, 1794.

2Symmes arrived in Philadelphia in August, and on September 30, 1794, he wrote to Dayton: “I was last week several times with Mr. Secretary Hamilton and Atty. Genl. Bradford on the subject of the Miami patent. Some parts of the proposed form I do not fully approve, but rather than state objections which might work delay, I agree to waive every thing that might retard. I expected to have heard of the signing of the patent yesterday or to-day, but have not heard a word tho’ I have been several times at the office” (Beverley W. Bond, Jr., The Correspondence of John Cleves Symmes, Founder of the Miami Purchase [New York, 1926], 166). On the same date, George Washington signed a patent for the 311,682 acres for which Symmes had paid (Carter, Territorial Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter, ed., The Territorial Papers of the United States (Washington, 1934–). description ends , II, 496–98).

On October 1, 1794, William Bradford wrote to Edmund Randolph: “Judge Symmes having stated certain objections to the following words introduced into the draught expressing his consent to the alteration of his Contract with the Board of Treasury viz ‘in & to the first mentioned contract so as aforesd. made with the said Samuel Osgood Walter Livingston & Arthur Lee Commissioners of the said Board of Treasury.’

“I am of opinion that they may safely be struck out and that the residue will be a substantial compliance with instructions given, & with the intention of the President.” (ALS, RG 60, General Records of the Department of Justice, Letters from and Opinions of Attorneys General, 1791–1811, National Archives.) On October 2, 1794, Randolph informed Washington of the contents of Bradford’s letter of October 1 (LS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

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