To Ebenezer Stevens
New York Oct 25. 1799
If the Owner of the ground adjoining you will take Eight hundred pounds (£ 800) for sixteen acres including a parcel of the wood land and lying on the water the whole breadth, you will oblige me by concluding the bargain with him & I will pay the money as soon as a good title shall appear.1 If he will not sell a part at this rate, I request you to ascertain whether he will take Thirty pounds an acre for the whole tract and let me know. If I like it, after another view of the premisses, I shall probably take the whole at this price. But I can only pay one half down, a quarter in six months and the remaining quarter in a twelve month. He shall be satisfied on the score of security if he desires.
Yrs. with regard
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. When this letter was written, Stevens lived at 59 Beekman Street on a plot between Front and South streets overlooking the East River (Adolf Dengler, ed., Descriptive Index of the Maps on Records in the Office of the Register of City and County of New York [New York: Diossy & Company, 1875], 7).
Broadus Mitchell (Hamilton, II, 499) states that the property in which H was interested was located on the Hudson River and that he purchased “some thirty acres” of this property for his country house, the Grange. Allan McLane Hamilton (Intimate Life, 337–38) also considers the letter printed above as the first step taken by H in purchasing land for the Grange. In this instance, however, both biographers appear to be mistaken.
The property in question had no apparent connection with the Grange, for H purchased the land for the Grange in 1800. More important, the land for the Grange was located in the upper west side rather than the lower east side of Manhattan, and it overlooked the Hudson, and not the East, River. Finally, no evidence has been found that H ever purchased the land about which he is asking Stevens in the letter printed above.