Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Richard Peters, 18 February [1795]

From Richard Peters1

[Philadelphia] February 18 [1795]. “Begin your legal Career at New York by obliging an old Friend … to settle the Affair of Croghan’s Lands….2 Wm. Peter’s3 Judgment is the first Incumbrance….”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Peters was judge of the United States District Court of Pennsylvania from 1792 to 1828.

2George Croghan had been a land speculator and an Indian agent and trader. By royal patents issued in 1765 and 1768 he received twenty thousand acres of land in the state of New York. He increased his landholdings in 1770 by successfully petitioning the governor and Council of New York for eighteen thousand additional acres. From 1767 to 1770 Croghan borrowed approximately £15,000 from his creditors in New York City, Albany, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Burlington, New Jersey, in order to purchase an additional two hundred and twelve thousand acres in the vicinity of Lake Otsego and Cherry Valley in New York. At two land sales in 1770 and 1774 he sold more than two hundred thousand acres to satisfy the demands of certain creditors, including Lieutenant Governor Cadwallader Colden, David Colden, and Goldsborrow Banyer of New York; William Peters, John Morton, and Dr. John Morgan of Philadelphia; and eight investors known as the Burlington Company. At the time of his death on August 31, 1782, Croghan’s New York estate totaled only nine thousand acres. Many claims were made against the estate, and Croghan’s executors, heirs, creditors, and occupants or claimants of his land were involved in numerous and complicated suits, which were finally settled in the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and the United States in the nineteenth century. For additional information about Croghan, see Albert T. Volwiler, George Croghan and the Westward Movement, 1741–1782 (Cleveland, 1920), and Nicholas B. Wainwright, George Croghan: Wilderness Diplomat (Chapel Hill, 1959).

3Richard Peters’s father. Richard Peters was attempting to settle his father’s claims to Croghan’s lands.

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