Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Elisha Boudinot, 10 April 1797

From Elisha Boudinot1

New Ark [New Jersey] April 10, 1797. “I have considered your propositions in the business of Col. Fays2 and reflected on the situation of his partner, and would rather sacrifice what is my right—then bare hard on him.… If he will take up two Notes which I have given, and are lodged in Mr. Seatons3 hands the one for two hundred & thirty four dollars payble 10 May—the other for seven hundred & fifty dollars payble 1st. July I will give him a discharge. In making this offer be kind enough to do it, so as no use is to be made of it in case of his declining it—which if he should do please to issue the writ, without the least delay and then let the law determine between us.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Boudinot, a lawyer and businessman in Newark, was involved in various transportation and banking enterprises in New Jersey.

2Colonel Joseph Fay, a land speculator from Bennington, Vermont, had been secretary to the Council of Safety and of the State Council from September, 1777, to 1784, and secretary of state from 1778 to 1781. He was an emissary of Ethan and Ira Allen in the Haldemand negotiations of 1780–1781. See “New York Assembly. Remarks on an Act Acknowledging the Independence of Vermont,” March 28, 1787. Fay moved to New York City in 1794, and he retained H as his attorney on several occasions. See the entries in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the dates of February 18, August 1, 1797 (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). Fay died of yellow fever in New York City in October, 1803.

Fay’s son, Joseph Dewey Fay, was one of H’s law clerks. On May 28, 1798, H wrote in his Cash Book, 1795–1804: “received of Col Fay for part of fee with his son 125” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). On July 15, 1800, the New York Supreme Court read and filed “A Certificate of Alexander Hamilton bearing date the 15th July 1800 … by which it appears that Joseph D. Fay has served a regular Clerkship in his Office, and that he is of good Moral Character—Ordered that he be examined with respect to his learning & ability to practice as an Attorney of this Court.” Fay was admitted to practice in the New York Supreme Court on July 23, 1800 (MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1796–1800 [Hall of Records, New York City]).

3William Seton, former cashier of the Bank of New York, was a partner with David Maitland in the New York City mercantile firm of Seton, Maitland, and Company.

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