Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Jonas Platt, 16 August 1803

To Jonas Platt1

New York, August 16, 1803. “The enclosed2 is pursuant to an arrangement between Judge Thompson & Mr. Troupe. The parties trust and hope, that you will by all means have the goodness to attend.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Platt, Smith Thompson, and Robert Troup had been appointed arbitrators and commissioners to settle the dispute over lands in Claverack, Columbia County, New York, between the heirs of John Van Rensselaer and those individuals who were charged with occupying his lands without acknowledging themselves as tenants and without accepting leases. For a discussion of this controversy and for the full text of the letter printed above, see Goebel, Law Practice, forthcoming volumes. See also Philip Schuyler to H, July 17, 1800, note 22; September 29; April 16, 1803; Schulyer to H, October 9, 1800.

Platt, a New York Federalist, was admitted to the bar in 1790 and began to practice law in Poughkeepsie. He was county clerk of Herkimer County from 1791 to 1798 and a member of the Assembly from Herkimer County in 1796. From 1798 to 1802 he was county clerk of Oneida County, and from 1799 to 1801 he was a member of the House of Representatives. In 1801 he resumed the practice of law.

Thompson, a Republican lawyer from Dutchess County, New York, was a delegate to the New York State convention of 1801 and a member of the Assembly in 1800 and 1801. He was attorney of the Second District of New York from August to October, 1801, and a puisne justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1802 to 1814.

2The “enclosed” was presumably an undated, unaddressed letter, drafted by H, which requests the commissioners to attend a meeting in Claverack on October 17, 1803, “to hear examine settle and determine” the dispute over the Claverack lands (ADfS, Columbia University Libraries). This letter is printed in full in 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.

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