Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 23 March 1792

From John Jay1

New York 23 March 1792

My good Friend

By the post I recd. this afternoon Letters from the Vice Presidt.2 & Atty. Genl.3 calling me to the Board of Trustees. My answers to both are necessarily very concise, having been engag’d by Company, and now being pressed for Time, they are enclosed.4

I regard my Duty to attend the Courts as being in point of legal Obligation primary, and to attend the Trustees as secondary—and yet I can concieve that the Order would be sometimes inverted, if only the Importance of the occasion was considered.

My answr. to the Vice presidt. proposes in a few words, that the Question in agitation be stated to me. It appears from his Letter to be a meer law Question. In that Case my opinion shall without Delay be formed and transmitted. This Letter will go by an Express who I am told will set out at 10 OCk.

You doubtless have heard more than I can tell you of the nature and extent of our friend Duers misfortunes.5 I sincerely regret these Consequences to him and to the very many who are and will be affected by them. They have affected all money operations here, and I believe it is still doubtful whether any favorable change likely to last, will soon take place.

Why cannot I give my opinion on a Law Question in the city of New York as well as in the City of Pha?6

Yours very Affy.

John Jay

The Honb. A. Hamilton Esqr

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

4Jay to Adams, March 23, 1792 (ADf, Columbia University Libraries).

5For the misfortunes of William Duer and their repercussions in the New York financial scene, see Duer to H, March 12, 1792; H to Duer, March 14, 23, 1792; Robert Troup to H, March 19, 1792; H to William Seton, March 19, 1792; Seton to H, March 21, 1792.

6The commissioners of the sinking fund decided that Jay should be permitted to submit his opinion in writing. See “Meeting of the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund,” March 26, 1792.

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