Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jonathan Burrall, [25 January 1796]

From Jonathan Burrall1

[New York, January 25, 1796]

Dr Sir,

Our practice is to demand payment of Notes which fall due on the 4th. July, the day before, as in case of Sundays and Christmas days.2 This practice has prevailed in this Office and at the New York Bank3 from their first establishment.4

Yours respectfully

Jon: Burrall

Alexr. Hamilton Esqr.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Burrall was the cashier of the New York Office of Discount and Deposit of the Bank of the United States.

2Section II of the “Ordinance and By-Laws for the Regulation of the Bank of the United States,” printed on November 14, 1791, reads: “That the bank shall be open for the transaction of business every day in the year (Sundays, Christmas Day, and the Fourth of July excepted) during such hours as the board of directors shall deem advisable” (John Thom Holdsworth and Davis R. Dewey, The First and Second Banks of the United States [Washington, 1910], 133).

3The rules of the Bank of New York, published on June 7, 1784, include the following provision: “The bank will be open every day in the year, except Sundays, Christmas-Day, New Year’s-Day, Good Friday, the Fourth of July, and general holidays appointed by legal authority” (Henry W. Domett, A History of the Bank of New York [New York, 1884], 19).

4H needed this information for the case of [Francis] Lewis v [Aaron] Burr, in which H appeared for the plaintiff. Burr had endorsed Roger Enos’s promissory note for thirty-five hundred dollars to Francis Lewis. The note fell due on July 4, a holiday, and Lewis thus demanded payment on July 3. As Enos failed to make any payment on July 3, Lewis brought action to hold Burr liable as the endorser of the note. The verdict, filed in the New York Supreme Court on September 5, 1796, held that July 4 was a holiday and that the note fell due on July 3. Burr was therefore liable for the note. For additional information on this case, see Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., ed., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , II, 17, note 64. See also Hamilton, Intimate Life description begins Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1910). description ends , 160–62, and H’s Law Register, 1795–1804 (D, partially in H’s handwriting, New York Law Institute, New York City).

On March 14, 1797, the following entry appears in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804: “Cash Dr. to Account of Costs and Fees [for] this sum received of Lewis v Burr Trial fee 20” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

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