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From Alexander Hamilton to Sempill and Company, [20 May 1786]

To Sempill and Company1

[New York, May 20, 1786]


On the recommendation of Mr. Nicholas Cruger2 of this City, I take the Liberty to commit to your care a small matter in which I am interested. I am informed that Mr John Hallwood a relation of mine who died some time since in St. Croix has by his will left me one fourth part of his Estate.3 The amount I imagine is not very considerable; but whatever it may be I shall be glad to have it collected and remitted. Mr Hallwoods estate I believe consisted intirely in his share in his Grand fathers estate Mr James Lytton; whose affairs have been a long time in a dealing Court but one would hope are now ready for a final settlement. Doctor Hugh Knox can give you further information on the Subject.4

As I know money concerns in your Island rarely improve by delay, if things should not be in a train to admit of an immediate settlement, I shall be ready to effect this, to transfer my claim to any person who may incline to the purchase at a discount of five and twenty per Cent. This however I submit to your discretion and authorise you to do whatever you think for my interest. Inclosed I send you a Power of Attorney5 which I presume you will find competent. Should it be in my power to render you any services here I shall with pleasure obey your commands.

I am with much consideratio⟨n⟩ Gentlemen Your Obedt. servant

Messrs, Sempill & Co

Copy, in writing of Pierre Van Cortlandt, Jr., Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1The letter is endorsed in the writing of H, “Letter to Mess Sempill & Co. St. Croix, as to a bequest from Mr. Halwood.”

John Sempill and William Amorey were merchants on St. Croix.

2H’s mercantile apprenticeship was served with Nicholas Cruger’s firm on St. Croix.

3John Hallwood was the son of the oldest daughter of James Lytton, H’s uncle-in-law. James Lytton, who died in 1769, willed two-sevenths of his estate to his grandson. Hallwood, who was in school in Philadelphia, returned to St. Croix, probably in September, 1774, to claim his inheritance. He remained there until 1780, when because of illness he returned to North America. He died in 1781; legal notice of his estate was given on April 13, 1781 (Ramsing, “Alexander Hamilton,” Personalhistorisk tidsskrift description begins Holger Utke Ramsing, “Alexander Hamilton og hans mødrene Slaegt. Tidsbilleder fra Dansk Vestindiens barndom,” Personalhistorisk tidsskrift, 24 cm., 10 Raekke, 6 bd. (Copenhagen, 1939). description ends , 268).

4Knox, a friend of the members of the Lytton family, had agreed to handle the inheritance claims of Hallwood’s widow who soon after her husband’s death had gone to Montgomery, Pennsylvania (ibid., 254).

5See the enclosure.

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