Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Rawle, [16 April 1794]

From William Rawle1

[Philadelphia, April 16, 1794]


I have the honor to inclose a Letter from the Attorney General received from him this day with a request to transmit it to you.2 The same cover contains my opinion on the same subject.3

Thinking somewhat differently from the Attorney General as to the nature of the debt, but fully coinciding with him as to the nullity of the process I have not, in my opinion, stated the reasons in which it is founded.4

I am   with the greatest respect   Sir   your most obedt. humble Servant

W Rawle.

LS, RG 60, Letters Received: Treasury Department, National Archives.

3Rawle’s enclosed opinion, dated April 16, 1794, reads as follows: “I am clearly of opinion that the stock of the United States standing in the names of individuals on the books of the Treasury is not liable to attachment by any law now existing in Pennsylvania” (DS, RG 60, Letters Received: Treasury Department, National Archives).

4Attached to the letters from Rawle and Bradford is a note in H’s handwriting which reads: “These opinions to be sent to the Comptroller with a line directing him to consider no attachment made or which may be made under any existing law of Pensylvania as a bar to any transfer by the Proprietor of the Stock or his lawful attornies & to give notice to such parties accordingly with respect to whom there may have been demurr” (AL, RG 60, Letters Received: Treasury Department, National Archives).

On April 8, 1794, Rawle had filed bills in Chancery, and subpoenas were issued out of the Circuit Court in six cases, in each of which the defendants included both those who had attached the stock and the owners whose stock had been attached. All of the cases were discontinued on Rawle’s order on May 5, 1794 (D, RG 21, Equity Dockets, Records of the Circuit Court for the District of Pennsylvania, National Archives).

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