Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Richard Soderstrom, 16 November 1803

From Richard Soderstrom1

Washington, November 16, 1803. “Mr: J: Sands of New York and at Present here as member of Congress,… informed me that Judgement was against him for damages sustained by the arrest of the Brig Jennet, owned by Mr: Haylegas of St. Croix.… I have brought payments forward in Similare cases, and I have good reason to believe that the present Secretary of the Treasury2 will not put any obstacles in the way.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Soderstrom, a resident of Philadelphia, was the Swedish consul general.

This letter concerns the cases of John W. Leonard, master of the United States Revenue Cutter, the Governor Jay, qui tam &c Libellant v The Schooner or Vessel called the Juno of Middletown in Connecticut otherwise the Jennet her Tackle, Apparel, Furniture and Cargo and Thomas Knox v Joshua Sands. Knox, a New York City merchant, was the administrator of the estate of Raapzat Heyleger, the owner of the Juno, also called the Jennet. Sands, as collector of the customs at New York, had had the Jennet seized for a violation of “An Act to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France, and the dependencies thereof” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 565–66 [June 13, 1798]). The case was heard before the United States District Court for New York on July 30, August 8, November 22, 1799, February 4, March 5, 1800 (RG 21, Minutes of the United States District Court for New York, 1790–1808, Records of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, National Archives), before the New York Supreme Court on September 21, 1802 (MS Common Rule Book of the New York Supreme Court, 1801–1805 [Historical Documents Collection, on deposit at Queens College, City University of New York]), and before the New York Circuit Court on June 23, 25, 1803, November 20, 1804, when the Court decided in favor of the plaintiff (MS Minutes of the New York Circuit Court, 1801–1805 [Hall of Records, New York City]). See also Judgment Roll, filed December 29, 1804, and the Satisfaction Piece, September 11, 1804, which is attached to the Judgment Roll (Law Judgments, 1804, S-82 [Hall of Records, New York City]).

On February 27, 1815, Congress passed an act entitled “An Act for the relief of Joshua Sands,” which reads: “Be it enacted, &c., That the proper accounting officers of the treasury be, and hereby are, authorized and directed to liquidate and adjust with Joshua Sands, late collector of the port of New York, the account of damages, interest and charges, in the cases of the brig Harriet, otherwise called the John, and cargo, and the Jennet, and cargo, seized by him whilst he was collector of the port of New York, for a violation of the act to suspend commercial intercourse between the United States and France, for which seizures suits were brought, and damages and costs recovered, against the said collector; and to satisfy and discharge the same, a sum sufficient is hereby appropriated, to be paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated” (6 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America [Private Statutes] (Boston, 1846). description ends 150–51).

For the brig Harriet, see John Imlay v Joshua Sands in George Caines, NewYork Term Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of That State (New York, 1804), I, 566–73.

An entry in H’s Cash Book, 1795–1804, under the date of “June Circuit 180-,” reads:

“Knox adn } verdict for Plaintiff

(AD, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).

2Albert Gallatin.

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