To William Cooper1
New York September 6. 1802
I congratulate you and myself on your victory over Brockholst.2 Whether your interest is much promoted by it or not is of small consequence—In the triumph of vanquishing such an enemy. That you know was your principal inducement and I know that you will be willing to pay well for it.
I have been deliberating whether to charge you 200 or 100 pounds for my services in this cause. In fixing upon the latter I am afraid I shall offend you. But I love to show my moderation & therefore whether you are angry or not I will only have One hundred.3
I wish you many pleasant moments & that you may be able to steer clear of the Court of Errors. I have fought so hard for you that I am entirely exhausted.
Yrs. with great regard
Typescript, anonymous donor.
1. Cooper, the founder of Cooperstown, New York, was one of the largest landholders in New York State. H was Cooper’s attorney in many of his land transactions. In 1791 Cooper became the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Otsego County. From 1795 to 1797 and from 1799 to 1801 he was a Federalist member of the House of Representatives.
2. H is referring to the case of Brockholst Livingston v William Cooper, which involved a dispute over seventy-five thousand acres of land known as the Brantingham Tract in the Macomb Purchase in northern New York. H served as counsel to Cooper as well as an arbitrator between the two disputing parties. See Goebel, Law Practice description begins Julius Goebel, Jr., and Joseph H. Smith, eds., The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary (New York and London, 1964– ). description ends , forthcoming volumes.
3. For an earlier fee from Cooper, see the entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1800, under the date of May, 1800, which reads: “William Cooper services in his suit with B Livingston 100” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
5. On April 9, 1802, Robert Troup wrote to Rufus King: “Hamilton is closely pursuing the law, and I have at length succeeded in making him somewhat mercenary. I have known him latterly to dun his clients for money, and in settling an account with me the other day, he reminded me that I had received a fee for him in settling a question referred to him and me jointly. These indications of regard to property give me hopes that we shall not be obliged to raise a subscription to pay for his funeral expenses” (King, The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King description begins Charles R. King, ed., The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King (New York, 1894–1900). description ends , IV, 104).