From Henry Sadler and Company1
New York, November, 1796. “We take the liberty of inclosing Copy of an obligation given for payt. of Commission on a certain contract made with the Agents of the French Republic2—copy of which contract you have also herewith. As the F Republick would not pay for the Leather immediately on delivery—nor in Specie, and not having yet paid for the Amount of Leather delivered agreeable to said Contract—We conceive it has not been compiled with on its part & that the obligation given for payment of Commission is thereby annulled. We therefore request your opinion.…”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Henry Sadler and Company was a firm of merchants located at 81 Water Street, New York City.
2. On August 12, 1794, Henry Sadler and Company and Townsend and Franklin, also a New York mercantile firm, signed a contract with Louis Arcambal, vice consul of the French republic at New York, “to deliver to the french republic … four Hundred Thousand Wheight of tanned inspected sole Leather … at the rate of one Half of a dollar for every pound of fourteen french ounces … payable in specie of gold or Silver immediately after the delivery of each Cargo …” (DS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). On the same day Henry Sadler and Company signed an “obligation” in which the firm promised to pay Peter Delabigarre, a New York City merchant, a five percent commission “on the whole amount of a Contract made this day between Us and L. Arcambal … in consideration of the preference given to Us and of his trouble in the settling of said contract—said Commission amounting to Ten thousand Dollars …” (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, for July 3, 1795, reads: “for this sum received for advice of Townshend & Franklin & Sadler respecting contract with Mr. Fauchet M Plenipotentiary 50.” An entry for July 20, 1796, reads: “for advice concerning contract with French Consul some time since given 15” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). H’s opinion, dated December 2, 1795, states: “… I incline to the opinion that upon So much of the contract money as the contractors or their agents have discharged the french government from … they must pay the full commission on in specie pro rata. It does not appear to me that they are to pay Commission on the balance unreceived or unextinguished.… I think they are bound to pay the Commission pro rata without waiting for payment of the whole Contract money” (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
A final entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, on November 12, 1796, reads: “Ditto [cash received for opinion] from Sadler & Co. contract with french Republic 20” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).