Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Robert Morris, [27 April 1796]

From Robert Morris

Philada. April 27th 1796

Alexander Hamilton Esqr
New York

Dr. Sir

Your letter without date arrived within this half hour27 & in consequence I run down to Mr Lewis28 from whom I am just returned he says he has written you two letters, the last of them this morning29 & it was sent to the Post Office before I got there. If Mr Lewis does me justice he will tell you that I called on him more than once with a strong desire to finish the business.30 I am mortified not a little to see your extreme anxiety & at the same time acknowledge that it is my duty to relieve you from it. I make it a point of honor to do so, and would now offer you as good a security in this City as that you gave up,31 but I perceive the existing judgements would lead you to object. I will therefore send you a Mortgage upon one hundred thousand acres of the Genesee Land32 adjoining that which I am now selling at 1 of your Curry per Acre in order to discharge the Mortgage to Colo. Walker. Mr Saml. Ogden will go over to New York in order to finish that business perhaps you can assist him in it. If that Mortgage is cleared away there is no other & the land I would not sell for less than two Dollr per Acre were it not to pay that cursed Mortgage. I must however stipulate with you that if at any time I should wish to change the security, you will allow me to do it upon giving one equally satisfactory. I wish also to know whether I should give the Bonds for 100,000 Drs deferred debt,33 or if to be commuted to Money at what rate shall it be done or how will you settle the Acct. I will have the Mortgage drawn up immediately after hearing from you unless you choose to send me the draft of one & point out the formalities. Must Mrs Morris be a party, as there is no income arising from uncultivated Lands I suppose it is not necessary. You may rely you shall not have cause in any event to change your opinion of my honor or integrity if that opinion has been what I believe it always has been.

I am Dr. Sir   Y. O. h. S.

RM

LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress.

2For Morris’s debt to Church, see the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795. See also Morris to H, July 20, November 16, December 18, 1795; January 15, March 6, 12, 14, 30, 1796.

3For Franklin, see Morris to H, June 7, 1795, note 48.

4For this tract, see H to Morris, March 18, 1795, note 29.

5For the standard account of the transactions described in this paragraph, see Helen I. Cowan, Charles Williamson, Genesee Promoter: Friend of Anglo-American Rapprochement (Rochester, 1941), 1–21.

6For the Morris Reserve, see H to Morris, March 18, 1795, note 29.

7Agreement, Robert Morris and William S. Smith, August 13, 1791 (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress); Bill, Walker v Morris, filed October 24, 1795, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-174 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany). For this agreement, see also 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 , 2.

8Defeasance, William S. Smith to Robert Morris, August 13, 1791 (D, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). A defeasance is a collateral deed made at the same time as a conveyance and containing certain conditions. If these conditions are met, the conveyance is then nullified.

See Bill, Walker v Morris, filed October 24, 1795, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-174 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany). See also 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 , 4.

9Bill, Walker v Morris, filed October 24, 1795, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-174 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany): 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 , 4.

10Bill, Walker v Morris, filed October 24, 1795, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-174 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany); 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 , 4.

11Morris had sold one of these tracts, comprising approximately one hundred thousand acres, to James Watson, James Greenleaf, and Andrew Craigie. See the introductory note to H to Morris, March 18, 1795. He had sold another tract of more than eighty thousand acres to Herman LeRoy and William Bayard. The second was the so-called Triangular Tract. See Morris to H, June 7, 1795, note 30.

12Bill, Walker v Morris, filed October 24, 1795, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-174 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany). “Equity of redemption” is defined as follows: “The right of the mortgagor of an estate to redeem the same after it has been forfeited at law, by a breach of the condition of the mortgage, upon paying the amount of debt, interest and costs” (Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary [4th ed., St. Paul, 1951], 636).

13Morris to Samuel Ogden, May 3, 1796 (LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress).

14For Morris’s debt to Church, see the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795.

16Morris to Ogden, May 3, 11, 1796 (LC, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress).

18MS Minutes, New York Court of Chancery, 1793–1797, sub May 14, 1796 (Hall of Records, New York City); Order, Walker v Morris, June 6, 1797, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-19 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany).

25Order, Walker v Morris, June 6, 1797, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-19 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany).

26Order, Walker v Morris, June 6, 1797, New York Chancery Decrees before 1800, W-19 (MS, Court of Appeals, Albany).

27Letter not found.

28William Lewis. See Morris to H, March 30, 1796, note 1.

29Neither letter has been found, but see Lewis to H, May 4, 1796.

30This is a reference to Morris’s debt to Church and his efforts either to pay it or to offer a mortgage as security for it. See the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795. See also Morris to H, July 20, November 16, December 18, 1795; January 15, March 6, 12, 14, 30, 1796.

31Morris had originally secured his debt to Church by mortgaging property in Philadelphia. This arrangement was subsequently altered. See the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795.

32See Morris to H, June 7, 1795, note 17.

33For Morris’s agreement to pay Church in deferred debt, see Morris to H, June 2, 1795, and the introductory note to Morris to H, June 7, 1795.

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