From Joshua Mersereau1
[Elizabeth, New Jersey, April 29, 1792]
I take the liberty of asking, What Success Colo. Harper2 has Met with in respect to his appointment. You will please to Excuse the Liberty I have taken as I am antious to hear of his appointment—as I am Confident it will tend greatly to the happyness of our part of the Country—as the Indians put full Confidence, in the Col. and Wish much for his appointment saying he never Deceivd. them as others have, in their Translations. Please to Make my respectfull Comps. acceptable To your Lady and accept the same from Your Obedt. Hum: Servt.
April 29 1792
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Mersereau, who had been deputy commissary of prisoners during the American Revolution, was a resident of Staten Island, New York, and a member of the New York Assembly from 1777 to 1786.
2. As a boy, John Harper attended Eleazar Wheelock’s Indian Charity School during the time when Joseph Brant, the Mohawk leader, was also a pupil (Francis Whiting Halsey, The Old New York Frontier [New York, 1901], 120–21). Harper became fluent in the Mohawk dialect, and during the seventeen-eighties became an Indian interpreter. During the American Revolution he served as a colonel in command of the Fifth Regiment of New York Militia.
3. This is a reference to the campaign for governor of New York. The candidates were John Jay and Governor George Clinton.
4. Jay was a member and ex-president of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves.