From John Girard1
Philadelphia, April 17, 1797. “As I wish to have the Suit against Armstrong & Barnwall2 Brought to an end, I wrote to Capn Briggs3 at New London to be ready for this next court. I received: Last saturday his answer was that tho’, he was just from Sea, that he was forced to Sett off immediately for Jeremie.… Pray what and how Shall I do? It is indispensable for you to take the properest means So as to get said Capn or his new deposition for the Court in Jully, I cannot Loss such a Sum my ciricumstances dont allow me to make an abandon of it, But my generosity will make the greatest acknowlegement for your Troubles; and if a commission of 10 Ct. is not Adequate with or to your time, I Shall add great deal more. The capital is 48 or 4900 Drs. but the damages & interests Brings that sum to above 8000 Drs.…”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. John (or Jean) Girard was the brother of Stephen Girard, the Philadelphia merchant. Like Stephen, he was born in France. He migrated to Santo Domingo, where by 1779 he was established in business as a commission agent. Because of the slave revolt in Santo Domingo in 1791, John Girard came to the United States, and in 1793 he became a citizen. After working briefly for his brother (see Stephen Girard to H, February 26, 1794), he went into business for himself. He died at St. Vincent in November, 1803, leaving his family destitute.
2. John Girard v William Armstrong and George Barnwall. For a discussion of 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, 191–98.
3. William Briggs, captain of Girard’s ship Adolphe.