Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Elias Boudinot, 7 July 1796

To Elias Boudinot1

[New York] July 7. 1796

My dear Sir

You will oblige me by letting me have an Extract from that part of your Mortgage law in New Jersey which regulates the mode of cancelling Mortgages2—also an extract from the Registering Book of the usual manner in which entries for cancelling were made about the years 1771, 1772 and 1773—and by informing me whether these Entries have been adjudged conclusive—though the order or certificate of the Mortgage is not to be found, the Mortgage money not paid, and the fact should appear that the Entry was a fraudulent act of the Registering Officer?

Excuse the trouble I give you and use me freely in a like case.

How are your Election prospects? Do not let the discontent with Dayton hazard the main point.3 ’Tis better by a coalition with him to secure that, though you make some sacrifice of opinion, than to produce a dangerous schism.

Our affairs are critical, and we must be dispassionate and wise.

Yours truly

A. Hamilton

JCH Transcripts description begins John C. Hamilton Transcripts, Columbia University Libraries. description ends .

1Because the original of this letter has not been found, it is impossible to determine whether it was sent to Elias or Elisha Boudinot. John Church Hamilton states that it was sent to Elisha Boudinot (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 138). Henry Cabot Lodge (HCLW description begins Henry Cabot Lodge, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1904). description ends , X, 182) and George Adams Boyd (Elias Boudinot, Patriot and Statesman, 1740–1821 [Princeton, 1952], 229) state that it was written to Elias Boudinot.

Elias Boudinot, who had practiced law in New Jersey, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1789 to 1795 and director of the United States Mint from 1795 to 1805. His brother Elisha was an attorney in Newark, New Jersey.

2H is referring to Section 1 of “An Act for the more easy redemption and foreclosure of Mortgages” (New Jersey Laws, 19th Sess., Ch. DXVI [December 3, 1794]).

3Jonathan Dayton was a member of the House of Representatives from New Jersey from 1791 to 1799 and Speaker of the House from 1795 to 1799. The “discontent” with Dayton arose from the fact that although he supported the House measure for implementing the Jay Treaty (see the introductory note to H to George Washington, March 7, 1796), he did so with a marked lack of enthusiasm. On April 29, 1796, in the course of a long speech to the House, he stated: “That the defects of this instrument of compact with Britain greatly exceeded its merits, was a truth which was strongly impressed upon his mind …” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States: with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , V, 1274).

Index Entries