Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John V. Henry, 31 October 1802

To John V. Henry1

Pitts Field [Massachusetts] Oct 31. 18022

Dr. Sir

I left with a Watchmaker at Albany my watch to be put in order & forgot it when I came away. I believe the name of the Watchmaker is Howal.3 He lives near the Court House, obliquely SouthWest.

Do me the favour to get it from him and send it to me by a safe opportunity; paying the expence.4

Yrs.   with much esteem

A Hamilton

John V Henry Esqr

ALS, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.

1Henry, an Albany lawyer, was comptroller of New York State from March, 1800, to August, 1801, a member of the Assembly in 1800 and 1802, and a delegate to the state convention which met in Albany in October, 1801, to settle the controversy between the Council of Appointment and the governor over the power of appointment.

2After the October term of the New York Supreme Court in Albany had adjourned on October 30, 1802, H did not return directly to New York City, but made a side trip, which included stops at Pittsfield and Stockbridge in western Massachusetts. On October 8, 1802, Henry Van Schaack, a Loyalist, who following his banishment from New York State during the American Revolution had settled in Pittsfield, wrote to his brother, Peter Van Schaack, a former Tory and a lawyer in Kinderhook, New York: “General Hamilton, according to [Egbert] Benson’s message to me, is to spend a day or two with me, on his way from Connecticut to Albany” (Henry Cruger Van Schaack, Memoirs of the Life of Henry Van Schaack [Chicago, 1892], 199). Van Schaack’s information was not correct, because H’s correspondence earlier in October (H to Elizabeth Hamilton, October 27, 1802) indicates that he would be detained in Albany until Saturday, October 30. For H’s trip to Massachusetts, see also Theodore Sedgwick to H, January 27, 1803.

3Silas White Howell was a silversmith and watchmaker in Albany from 1798 to 1803, when he moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey. His business, according to his advertisements, was “opposite City Hall, Court Street.”

4This letter is endorsed: “1802 Novr 9 Sent by Peter R Ludlow pd for repairs to Howell 6/.”

Ludlow, an attorney and friend of H, lived on an estate near Goshen, New York. He was in Albany to attend either the New York Supreme Court or the Court of Errors.

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