Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to John V. Henry, 20 March 1803

To John V. Henry

New York March 20. 1803

My Dear Sir

I am afraid the frequency of my requests1 may induce you to think me troublesome; but I do not know any one to whom I can with more confidence address myself; and if I trespass too much on your politeness I beg you will retaliate by commanding me freely in any matter in which I can render you service.

When I was last at Albany,2 I applied to The Comptroller, Mr. Jenkins,3 to ascertain the amount of a tax on certain lands which Mr. Church4 Mr. Laurance5 and myself own say four Townships and part of a fifth in Rosevelts purchase.6 I gave him a particular description of the land belonging to us. There had been some errors in the assessment which he promised to correct, and to advise me shortly of the precise amount of the tax, which he said I might pay into the Bank of New York to the Credit of the Treasurer. But it happens that I have not since heared a word from him on the subject which makes me rather uneasy as I know part of the tract was advertised for sale & chargeable as I understood from the Comptroller with an interest of fifteen per Cent.

Do me the favour to see the Comptroller without delay and to obtain from him a statement of the amount of the tax and fix the mode in which I shall remit or pay it.

There is another tract of upwards of 20000 acres in which also I am interested. Laurance Fish7 & Troupe8 are concerned with me.9 The Comptroller could not discover whether this parcel had been taxed or not especially as I was not prepared at the time, sufficiently to identify it. At foot is an extract of the boundary. It formerly belonged to Arthur Noble10 was either the whole or part of the tract called Nobleborough & is situate in Herkermer County. If these indications do not enable the Comptroller to pronounce with certainty whether it has been taxed or not, I will entreat you to take the trouble to write to S Breese11 Esqr of Whites Town under whose superintendence it was not long since surveyed12 and who doubtless can name the Town in which it lies and afford any auxiliary description which may be requisite.

I am not done troubling you. When at Albany, on the last day of the Court, I left on the Clerks Table a bundle containing a number of cases and some briefs, to which just before my departure, a friend promised me to attend but probably forgot it; for I have heared no more of the matter since that time, and indeed had temporarily forgotten it myself. Have the goodness to inquire for the bundle and forward it to me by some trusty & careful hand. It would be a good deal inconvenient to me not to recover it.

With great esteem & regard   I am Sir   Yr Obed

A Hamilton

“All those several pieces or parcels of land following being parts of a Township of Land designated by the name of Nobleborough situate &c. in the then County of Montgomery now County of Herkema on the North side of the Mohawk River and to the Northward of a tract of land heretofore granted to Henry Glen13 & others, commonly called Jersey field14 beginning on the East shore of the Tioga or Canda Creek at the distance of three hundred Chains measured on a course N 31º E  15 from the N bounds of the said tract called Jersey field and runs thence S 59 E Ninety one chains and 24 links the[n] N 31º E 59º Chains then N 59 degrees W 694 Chains & 24 links then S 31º W 590 Chains and then S 59º E 600 Chains to the place of beginning containing the quantity of Eight Miles square or 40960 acres (viz) Lots No. 2, 7 to 38, 50 to 71, 82 to 96, 98, 100, 101 part of 6 containing in the whole 21.800 acres.

Noble grants to

J Laurance Nichs Fish16

ALS, Mr. Hall Park McCullough, North Bennington, Vermont.

2H had attended the January term of the Supreme Court of New York State which convened in Albany on January 18, 1803, and adjourned on January 29, 1803.

3Elisha Jenkins of Hudson, New York, was comptroller of New York State from 1801 to 1806.

4John B. Church.

5John Laurance.

7Nicholas Fish, a veteran of the American Revolution and a close friend of H, was supervisor of the revenue for the District of New York.

8Robert Troup.

9For the purchase to which H is referring, see H to Troup, July 25, 1795, note 13.

10Noble, who had emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1783, was a speculator in New York State lands. In 1790 he settled on the Nobleborough tract of 40,960 acres in Herkimer County. Although he built a sawmill and attempted to colonize his lands, the project failed. The present town of Nobleborough or Nobleboro was named for him.

11Samuel Sidney Breese, who was born in Philadelphia and later moved to Whitestown, Oneida County, New York, was the brother of Arthur Breese, a prominent lawyer in Utica. Samuel Sidney Breese served as a delegate to the New York State constitutional convention of 1821.

12Nobleborough was surveyed on August 23, 1787 (Mix, Catalogue: Maps and Surveys description begins David E. E. Mix, ed., Catalogue: Maps and Surveys in the Offices of the Secretary of State, State Engineer and Surveyor, and Comptroller, and the New York State Library (Albany, 1859). description ends , 221).

13Henry Glen, a Schenectady merchant, was a member of the House of Representatives from 1793 to 1801. H and Glen were old friends. See H to Richard Varick, May 12, 1795, note 2.

14For the Jerseyfield Patent, see Mix, Catalogue: Maps and Surveys description begins David E. E. Mix, ed., Catalogue: Maps and Surveys in the Offices of the Secretary of State, State Engineer and Surveyor, and Comptroller, and the New York State Library (Albany, 1859). description ends , 251; Nathaniel S. Benton, A History of Herkimer County, Including the Upper Mohawk Valley (Albany: J. Munsell, 1856), 200, 477.

15Space left blank in MS.

16Henry endorsed this letter: “Recd 26 ⟨ansd⟩ 29 mail.” Henry’s reply has not been found.

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