From Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholaas
and Jacob Van Staphorst, and Nicholas Hubbard
Amsterdam 1 May 1794
We have to request your acceptance of our most hearty Thanks for Your very polite letter of 24th January,1 and for your alacrity to contribute to the success of the object, We commissioned Mr. Sterett2 to obtain for us.
We are apprized of the Doubt whether the Constitution by prescribing a general Uniform rule of naturalization, did not preclude the granting it in any particular Case: wherefore We desired the presentation of our petition less in the View of attaining the favor partially, than to furnish an occasion for the question being brought on upon the general principles, which We flattered ourselves might conduct to the fulfillment of our Wishes and views.
Be assured We have sincere and due gratitude for your recommendation of our petition to the Legislature of New York,3 to the patronage of Your Friends equally strong in the defeat of our application, as if it had been the means of our complete success: and that We shall deem it one of the fortunate circumstances of our Life, to have it in our power to render You any useful or agreeable Office, which We beg of you to consider at Your disposal.
We are respectfully Sir! Your mo. ob. hb. Servants
Wilhem & Jan Willink
N & J. Van Staphorst & Hubbard
Alexa. Hamilton Esqr.
LS, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.
1. Letter not found.
2. Samuel Sterett was a Baltimore merchant who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1791 to 1793 and a naval agent in 1794. Following the failure of his business in Baltimore, he established a partnership in Philadelphia with George Harrison. In addition, as a lobbyist for the six Dutch banking firms which formed the Holland Land Company in 1796, he attempted to secure legislation to enable them as aliens to hold land in New York.
3. On January 11, 1794, “A petition of Wilhem Willink and five others, of the city of Amsterdam, by [Herman] Le Roy and [William] Bayard, their agents and attornies, in New-York, was read” in the New York Senate and committed to a Senate committee for consideration. On January 15 the committee reported “that in their opinion, a bill ought to be brought in according to the prayer of the petition; that they have prepared a bill for the purpose, and directed the chairman to move for leave to bring in the same.… Mr. [Samuel] Jones, from the said committee, according to leave, brought in the bill, entitled, ‘An act to enable the persons therein named, being aliens, to take and hold to their own use certain lands within this state, for the purchase whereof they have already contracted and paid.’” On January 21, 1794, the bill passed the Senate and was sent to the Assembly (Journal of the Senate, of the State of New-York, At their Seventeenth Session, begun and held at the City of Albany, the seventh day of January, 1794 [Albany, 1794], 7, 9, 13). The Assembly rejected it on February 19 (Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, At their Seventeenth Session, begun and held at the City of Albany, the seventh Day of January, 1794 [Albany, 1794], 87).