Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John Jay, 4 March 1800

To John Jay

[New York] March 4. 1800

Dr. Sir

We are all here very anxious for the success of Mr Coleman.1 We know his abilities and we believe in his integrity. Your good disposition towards him is well understood—Yet it is feared that his pecuniary situation may prove an obstacle. It is undoubtedly a good rule to avoid embarrassed men in appointments—yet this like every other general rule may admit of exceptions in special cases. If I understand the duties of the Office in question it is peculiarly one in which there could be no danger of Evil from the cause alluded to. There is scarcely an Opportunity for infidelity if there was a disposition. I really think the objection may without impropriety be waved & if you on reflection should think the same it will be very pleasing to us.

Very respectfully & affetly   Dr Sir   Yr Obed Serv

A Hamilton2

ALS, Columbia University Libraries.

1A native of Boston, William Coleman had been an attorney in Greenfield, Massachusetts, a member of the militia in Shays’s Rebellion, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1795 and 1796. Because of the major financial losses he sustained from his speculations in Yazoo lands, Coleman moved to New York City and practiced law. In the letter printed above H is recommending Coleman for the post of clerk in the circuit of the New York Supreme Court.

In 1801 Coleman became editor of the New-York Evening Post.

2Jay endorsed this letter “4 March

and. 10 1800.” Jay’s reply has not been found.

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