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To Alexander Hamilton from Barent Gardenier, 24 March 1801

From Barent Gardenier1

Kingston [New York] March 24, 1801. Requests Hamilton’s opinion on the will of Cornelius Newkirk.2 States: “mr. Clinton will have nothing to boast of in the County of Ulster. We may give Mr. V.R. from one to two hundred Majority.”3

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Gardenier was a Federalist and a lawyer in Kingston, New York.

2Newkirk, a resident of Hurley, New York, died in February, 1788. The letter printed above concerns the case of Garret G. Newkirk and Leah his wife, and Jannatje Roosa v Cornelius Newkirk, Petrus Dubois, and Ariantje his wife, Cornelius Dumond and Hendricke his wife, Peter Newkirk, Cornelius P. Newkirk, and Elizabeth Newkirk which was instituted in the New York Supreme Court on October 19, 1802 (MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1798–1802, October, 1802, Sess. [Hall of Records, New York City]). Gardenier served as counsel for the defense. On February 16, 1805, the court awarded judgment to the plaintiffs (MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1803–1807, February, 1805, Sess. [Hall of Records, New York City]). For this case, see also Reports of Cases of Practice Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of New York from April Term, 1794, to November Term, 1805, Both Inclusive, To Which is Prefixed all the Rules and Orders of the Court to the Present Time. Coleman’s and Caine’s Cases (New York, 1808), 345–56.

In the Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress, are three documents concerning Cornelius Newkirk’s will: a legal opinion dated August 20, 1800, written by Gardenier, and two undated, unsigned, legal opinions. One undated opinion is entitled “Aaron Burrs opinion respecting the will of Cornelius Newkirk,” and the other opinion is entitled “Harrison’s [Richard Harison’s] opinion Repecting the Will of Cornl. Newkirk.”

3Gardenier is referring to the New York gubernatorial campaign of 1801. See H to James A. Bayard, February 22, 1801, note 1.

In Ulster County, Stephen Van Rensselaer received 630 votes and George Clinton 1,000 votes. See The [New York] Spectator, June 10, 1801.

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