Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James Tillary, [6 March 1792]

From James Tillary1

[New York, March 6, 1792]


When I reflect how long I have been in your Debt I am ashamed, not that I have had any reason to complain of your patience or doubt your generosity.

When Mr Childs2 was in Phila. about 10 days ago, I expected he would have called & taken up my note. I had actually put him in possession of the ways & means for doing so, except what interest may be due upon it.

He hurried away sooner than he intended, & I believe was obliged to make provision for conducting his business in Phila beyond his expectations of any existing necessities. I need not offer apologies to you, for delaying to take up my note—I am persuaded of your goodness. The Baron whose Note I now have, could not consistently with his arrangements pay me the whole of the rent he owed to me.3 He is still in my debt, but such is his delicacy & his honor, that I could as soon offend the former, as suspect the later.

But what has that to do with my note for £80?—Nothing. I can pay you with ease, & shall do so with gratitude. Send it to any person you please—or let me know how much it amounts to, & I will pay it into the Bank.

The Bank Mania rages violently in this City,4 & it is made an engine to help the Governors re-election. Judge Yates’ sudden & unexpected resignation, or rather declination—Judge Jays sudden & unexpected acceptation—The obstinacy of Gov Clinton—The interference of Burr, & the tergiversation of the Chancellor, confound divide & distract the City.5 If the Conflict was to terminate in the Triumph or defeat of either of the Candidates, it would be of less consequence, but I either see, or fancy I see, the Malignant spirit of Antifederalism hovering over our land & ready to seize the first favorable opportunity of making a Stand. Farewell May success attend your measures & happiness yourself.

James Tillary

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Tillary was a New York City physician and a Federalist politician.

2Francis Childs.

3Baron von Steuben had rented an apartment from James Tillary at the southeast corner of Broadway and Wall Street.

4For information on the attempt to organize new banks in New York City, see H to William Seton, January 18, 1792. See also Philip Schuyler to H, January 29, 1792; H to Seton, January 24, February 10, 1792; Seton to H, January 22, February 6, 1792; and H to Childs, February 27, 1792.

5Tillary is referring to the gubernatorial election held in New York in the spring of 1792. George Clinton, a candidate to succeed himself, was supported by “the Republican interest” and by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, a former Federalist. After Robert Yates, the Federalist nominee in 1789, had refused to run again, John Jay was nominated to oppose Clinton. Aaron Burr had hoped to obtain Federalist support as a candidate in the election. See Isaac Ledyard to H, February 1, 28, 1792.

Some indication of the uncertainty concerning the candidacy of Jay and Yates is contained in newspaper reports of the meetings held for the promotion of Jay’s campaign. On February 16, 1792, a meeting of New York City Federalists sent a committee to Jay because “some doubts have been expressed whether Mr. Jay would serve.” The committee returned to the meeting with the answer that Jay would serve if elected. On the same day in Albany a meeting of Federalists discounted the rumor that Yates had declined the nomination in order to support Burr. The report of the Albany meeting stated that, in New York on February 9 at the meeting which nominated Jay, Yates had said that his refusal to be a candidate “did not arise from a want of confidence in the sincerity of his friends, nor the least diffidence of the issue of his election and that the report which had circulated that he was induced to decline from motives partial to Col. Burr was without foundation” (The [New York] Daily Advertiser, February 18, 25, 1792). Burr did not finally renounce his candidacy until March 15, 1792.

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