Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Henderson, 24 September 1792

From William Henderson

New York sepr. 24th. 1792


Your favor of the 21st. inst. I duly received.1 I am sorry to inform you that the tract of Land, of 45000 Acres for which I was in treaty is disposed of.2 Mr Cazenove is the purchaser and at the price which was asked for the whole.3 I wrote to the General4 respecting it the middle of August: and had he not been unfortunately absent on the lock navigation business, I could have easily made the bargain to his, and your satisfaction. I regret its falling into other hands, as it would have been a good purchase; for I am well assured that since the sale, 6/ per acre has been offerred for one half of it. The other tract is not yet sold, and from the description I have lately had of it I think it cannot by any means, be worth the money they ask for it. Had it been good Land I have no doubt Mr. C would have bought it.

The tract which is sold borders on Macomb’s purchase.5 It is therefore probable that the Land belonging to him adjoining, is nearly as valuable. He has obtained a patent for upwards of a Million of Acres, which is in the hands, and under the controul of Mr Constable6 who went to England for the purpose of selling it. There is no advice of his having sold more than 25.000 Acres; Altho’ I am informed he offerred a Million as low as a shilling Sterling per acre; if this information be true, Mr Church7 may make a better purchase from him, than he can from any person here; and of such quantity as he likes. I expect to sail for England at the first Week in the next month8 and if you think I can serve him in the Negociation I will do it with the utmost pleasure.

I take the liberty of requesting from you as soon as convenient, the Letter to Mr. Pinckney the Minister,9 which you was so kind as to promise me, when I had last the pleasure of seeing you in Philadelphia.

I am sir with the Greatest respect   Your Humble servt.

Wm Henderson

The Honble. Alexr. Hamilton

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Letter not found.

2The forty-five-thousand-acre tract to which Henderson is referring was in the Adgate Patent, which was located in the northern part of what is now Oneida County, New York.

3Théophile Cazenove had come to New York from the Netherlands in 1790 as the representative of several Dutch firms interested in speculation in American securities. The original contract gave Cazenove an option to buy two tracts of land containing one hundred and ten thousand acres at two pence less per acre than would be charged for the forty-five-thousand-acre tract alone.

5In 1791 the commissioners of the New York land office sold Alexander Macomb three million six hundred thousand acres of public land at eight pence an acre. Cazenove’s purchase was at the southern limit of Great Tracts No. 5 and 6 of the Macomb purchase. Macomb’s approved application to the commissioners of the New York land office, as well as a more modest application presented by Henderson for sixty-four thousand acres, may be found in “The Report of the Commissioners of the Land Office” (Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, Fifteenth Session [New York, 1792], 182–200).

6William Constable.

7John B. Church, the husband of Elizabeth Hamilton’s sister, had returned to England at the conclusion of the American Revolution. H managed Church’s financial affairs in America.

8Henderson, William Denning, Jr., and Robert C. Johnson left for England on October 14, 1792, in company with Francis Childs (Vernon F. Snow, “The Grand Tour Diary of Robert C. Johnson, 1792–1793,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society [Philadelphia, 1958], CII, 60–105).

9Thomas Pinckney, United States Minister Plenipotentiary at London.

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