Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Morris, 20 July 1795

From Robert Morris

Philada July 20th. 1795

Dear Sir

I wrote you on Saturday1 & enclosed good Bills of Exchange for £500 Stg which I hope will be agreable. In your letter of the 7th of July2 you tell me that a letter from Mr Church makes it necessary you should open a negotiation with me respecting the deferred debt without waiting the Issue of those measures which I had taken in regard to that affair, and you have no objection to receive an offer of Lands.3 I own 50,000 acres of Land in Washington County State of Pensylvania, situated about 25 to 27 Miles from Pittsburg & 15 from the County Town of Washington; on this Land I have built a good Farm House, a Mill & a Number of Out Houses a Farm Fenced & tenanted about 200 Acres of Meadow cleared; perhaps you might have seen or heard of this place during the late insurrection; it is called properly Morrisville4 but commonly, Ryerson’s5 place. Mr Ryerson was my Agent in forming the settlement which Cost much Money. For three Successive years the Indians committed depredations on us, and I gave up the pursuit. The two last years 1794 & 1795 they have not troubled those parts and Washington County is now so full of inhabitants that I think they never will again. You know that Country; it is broken & hilly, but the Land is rich & produces luxuriantly even on the tops of the Hills. There are already settlements all round my Lands besides those on them. The Cultivated Lands in that County sell from four to Twelve Dollrs. p Acre the Uncultivated from one to three Dollrs p Acre according to quality, situation and Circumstances. I reckon my Lands there to be Worth Two Dollrs or upwards at the present time and that they will rise considerably every year. If you approve of these Lands for Mr. Church I am willing to sell them payable in the defered Debt as far as it will go and the rest as may be fixed between us, or so much of the Lands may be sold as will absorb the deferred Debt.

I am Dear Sir   Your Obedt hble servt

Robt Morris

PS If the Mississippi becomes a free Navigation & inevitably it must the value of these Lands will thereby be very greatly enhanced.

Alexr Hamilton Esqr
New York

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

2Letter not found.

3In this sentence and in the remainder of this letter Morris is referring to his plans for paying the balance of a debt which he owed to John B. Church. For a discussion of this debt and Morris’s efforts to pay it, see the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795.

4This is one of two settlements named Morrisville in Pennsylvania. The Morrisville to which Morris refers in this letter is in the present Greene (before 1796, Washington) County in the southwestern corner of the state. The other Morrisville, which also consisted of land purchased by Morris, is in Bucks County in eastern Pennsylvania and is discussed in Morris to H, December 18, 1795. Both communities survived, and the two Morrisvilles appear on modern maps of Pennsylvania to the presumable consternation of their residents and the United States Postal Service. In the statement of his property and debts after his imprisonment, Morris wrote that he had lost some of the property referred to in this letter and that “I think that there are some few tracts of land in Green, formerly Washington County, to which I have a right either by patent, deed poll, or location; but which of them, or how many, I cannot now ascertain” (Morris, In the Account of Property description begins Robert Morris, In the Account of Property (King & Baird, Printers, No. 9 Sansom Street [Philadelphia], n.d.). description ends , 14).

5Thomas Ryerson was a resident of Washington County, which he represented in the state legislature in the early seventeen-nineties. For Morris’s account with Ryerson, see Ledger C, 181, Robert Morris Account Books, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

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