Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John J. U. Rivardi, 12[–16] September 1799

From John J. U. Rivardi

Niagara [New York] September 12 [–16] 1799. Encloses “a New Ark paper containing an anonymous paragraph against me—also my letter on the Subject to the Magistrates of New Ark together with their answer.”1 Has employed Dr. James Muirhead to attend the sick at the fort during Dr. John G. Coffin’s absence and at Coffin’s expense.2

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1On September 7, 1799, Rivardi wrote to William Dickson: “An Anonymous paragraph in the New Ark paper of yesterday (which this morning only fell into my hands) forces me To apply To you as To a Magistrate, not only To State the facts alluded To in Said Paragraph, But also to request your advice with regard To The conduct which I ought to follow against the writer of false reports, as well as against the printer who gives them currency. On Saturday last at half after Ten, The Night being very dark, a boat was discovered close To The garrison Wharf & hailed; I heard myself the Sentry call out distinctly three times with a Speaking Trumpet, after which he fired twice before The Boat came To. That Same Night, about one hour before This circumstance Took place a Soldier of this Garrison deserted & Took with him a boat from the Same Wharf. I lamented the fright of the Ladies, but they did not Sleep on the beach nor were they detained till ten the Next Morning. The owner of the boat being informed by myself that he could proceed To New Ark either the Same Night or early in the Morning. I acquainted him with the Standing orders of the Fort which direct that no boat Shall Set off from this Shore after Tatoo before it is examined & reported.… I waited on The Ladies in The Morning at the house where They put up, apologized for the fear they had undergone …” (copy, in Rivardi’s handwriting, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

On September 8, 1798, Dickson wrote to Rivardi: “… Allow me To Say I am flattered by The Condescension in your application To my advice. Your dispising The Printer & Publisher, and consigning both To Their own reflections would be The line of conduct I Should pursue in which opinion I am Sanctioned by the Most intelligent Part of this Com[m]unity” (copy, in Rivardi’s handwriting, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

2While Coffin was on leave, no substitute had been found for him at Fort Niagara (Rivardi to H, July 25, August 8, 1799). Muirhead was a physician who lived on the British side of the Niagara River opposite Fort Niagara.

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