Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Richard Hartshorne, [23 March 1803]

To Richard Hartshorne1

[New York, March 23, 1803]

I understand that our Supreme Court has decided that the Plaintiff is liable to the Sheriff for his poundage. The agents of Mr. Sansom are therefore to pay the above.2

A Hamilton

Mr. Richard Hartshorne

ALS, Columbia University Libraries.

1Hartshorne, a New York City merchant, was acting as agent for Philip Sansom, a London merchant, who was bringing suit against the New York mercantile firm of Robert Murray and Company. In 1796 Hartshorne retained H as solicitor and counselor for Sansom. An entry in H’s Law Register, 1795–1804, reads:

“Philip Sansom } £8500
v upon promise
Robert Murray C. I. Bogert
James V. Murray
George W. Murray
& John R. Wheaton”

(D, partially in H’s handwriting, New York Law Institute, New York City). Cornelius I. Bogert was a New York City lawyer.

An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of September 14, 1796, reads: “received of   V Robert Murray & Co 10” (AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

For additional information concerning this case, 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.

2H wrote the letter printed above at the bottom of the following document:

“New York April 1797

Mr. Philip Sampson to Jacob Jn. Lansing Dr

To poundage on a Casa issued by Alexander Hamilton Esqr. vs Robert Murray on £8229–6–10

£104–2–3” (D, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

Jacob John Lansing, who had been sheriff from September 29, 1795, to December 28, 1798, received the poundage. Lansing’s receipt, written below H’s note to Hartshorne printed above, reads: “Recd. Newyork the 19th January 1804 of Richd. Hartshorne one Hundred and four pounds ⅔ N. york Currency in full for the above claim of poundage for a Judgment obtained in the name of Philip Sansom against Robert Murray & Co. in the Supreme Court of this State

Jacob Jn Lansing

Late Sheriff of the
City & County of New York

218 Wm Street” (DS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

Poundage is defined as “an allowance to the sheriff of so much in the pound upon the amount levied under an execution” (Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary: Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern [St. Paul, Minnesota, 1951], 1332).

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