Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James Tillary, [14 January 1793]

From James Tillary1

[New York, January 14, 1793]


Mr Mulligan2 will have the honor of seeing you in Phila. & promised to deliver this letter personally. It incloses 200 Dolls, which I have been indebted to you a most unconscionable length of time. When Mr Childs3 was in Phila. about a year ago, he was commissioned by me (having then the needful of my property) to discharge my pecuniary obligations to you. But disappointments pressed so severely upon him that he excused himself to me in the best way he could for not doing as I directed him.

The Baron4 who is now with you, took up his note a few days before he left us & paid me every farthing. But what need I trouble you with a long story.

You lent me some money to serve me at a time when an act of friendship had embarrassed me, & I now return it to you with a Thousand thanks, the only Interest, I shall offer at present. The fact is I have had your money so long that I don’t recollect when my note was given—besides on such occasions I am a very bad Accountant. I might give you a dish of Local Politics, but your supplies on that score issue from many sources of more competent information. I flatter myself that I have been, & shall be, in some measure, useful in keeping from Congress that Whore in Politics ⟨– –⟩.5 The Chancellor is removed from the Presidency of the Scotch Socty.6 & that has been ascribed to my interference.

The truth is I wish’t to make the whole family unpopular, because in my Judgement, by their apostacy7 they had rendered themselves quite odious.

If you can lay your hands on my Note you will oblige me by sending it.

Success, Honor, & long life to you

James Tillary

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Tillary was a New York City physician and politician.

2John W. Mulligan was a graduate of Columbia College who in 1791 had become Baron von Steuben’s private secretary.

3Francis Childs was publisher of The [New York] Daily Advertiser.

4After the American Revolution Steuben had settled in New York City where he engaged in various business enterprises. After the New York State legislature in 1786 had granted him sixteen thousand acres of land near Utica, he divided his time between New York City and his estates. While in New York City he lived in an apartment owned by Tillary. See Tillary to H, March 6, 1792.

5The name on the MS has been inked over, but presumably the reference is to William S. Livingston, the Republican candidate for Congress from New York City in 1792. When he had been elected to the New York Assembly in 1791, he had received considerable Federalist support, but during 1792 he had become closely allied with the family of Robert R. Livingston of Clermont, the chancellor of the state of New York, and generally supported the chancellor’s policies. Tillary’s epithet may also refer to Livingston’s unsuccessful attempt to secure the political support of the Mechanic’s Society with a claim that while serving in the Assembly he had secured legislative approval of its charter.

6The St. Andrew’s Society of New York City.

7This is a reference to the defection of the Livingston family from the Federalist party. Although Robert R. Livingston, political leader of the Clermont branch of the Livingston family, had supported the Federalists in 1789, he allied himself with Governor George Clinton in 1790. The dissatisfaction of the Livingston family with the Federalists has generally been attributed to the fact that the members of that family received no patronage under the new Federal Government.

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