Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from David Hunter, 7 July 1796

From David Hunter1

Martinburgh, Virginia, July 7, 1796. “A cause is now depending before the Supreme Court of the United States on an appeal from the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Virginia, wherein I am Appellant & Denny Fairfax Appellee.…2 I am informed that you practise in the supreme Court. I shoud therefore thank you to inform me whether you will undertake the Cause for me for a fee of Four Hundred dollars certain & made up to a Thousand if you succeed, or, if you think you can establish my right to the Land, I will give it to you as a Fee. It is worth about Two Thousand dollars. Mr. Marshall3 of this State & the Attorney General of the United States Mr. Lee4 will argue the cause on behalf of Fairfax.…”5

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Hunter was a Virginia planter.

2For the case of Hunter v Fairfax’s Devisee, see 3 Dallas, U.S. Reports description begins A. J. Dallas, Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Several Courts of the United States and of Pennsylvania, Held at the Seat of the Federal Government. Vol. III, Second Edition. Edited, With Notes and References to Later Decisions, by Frederick C. Brightly (New York and Albany, 1882). description ends , 305, and Henry Wheaton, Reports of Cases Argued and Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, February Term 1816 (New York, 1907), I, 304–81. See also 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 , I, 525, note 198.

3John Marshall.

4Charles Lee.

5On the cover of this letter H wrote: “Answer in the negative. It not being my general plan to practice in Supreme Court of U.S.” H’s letter to Hunter has not been found.

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