Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Thomas Morris, 16 July 1799

From Thomas Morris1

Albany, July 16, 1799. “I am compelled by the impossibility of converting landed property into cash to make an offer to my Creditors2 of all my property and to seek from them a discharge of my debts. I need not enter into a detail of the Circumstances that have led me into this unpleasant Situation. suffice it to say that I was seized with the Mania of the times and have incurred debts in the purchase of property which is at the present Moment perfectly unsaleable.… My first object at present is to get a discharge from my debts without taking the benefit of the Insolvent Act.3 If in this Attempt I should fail, however painful the Step may be I shall be compelled to resort to the other.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Morris, the son of Robert Morris, had been his father’s principal agent and representative in the Genesee country in western New York. See the introductory note to H to Robert Morris, March 18, 1795. Thomas Morris practiced law in Canandaigua, New York, and was a member of the New York Assembly from 1794 to 1796.

2Morris’s creditors included Richard Harison, a New York City attorney; Peter R. Livingston, the brother-in-law of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston; Charles Williamson, the agent of the Pulteney Associates in the Genesee country; and Oliver Phelps, a member of the Massachusetts Assembly and Senate, who owned land in the Genesee country. See the introductory note to H to Robert Morris, March 18, 1795, note 29.

3“An Act to amend the Act entitled an Act for the relief of Debtors with respect to the Imprisonment of their Persons” (New York Laws, 22nd Sess., Ch. LXXXV [April 2, 1799]).

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