Stephen Van Rensselaer to the Tenants of
The situation in which you occupy the lands in your possession in the manor of Rensselaærwyck must of course make you anxious to be put upon a more certain and explicit footing. On my part it is my wish not merely to do justice but to act liberally towards those with whom I have any concerns of property. In this disposition I have concluded to give you a lease in fee for the farm in your possession on such terms and conditions as will be reasonable in respect to you and consistent with a due regard to myself and my family. You will therefore call upon me at my house on 2 in order that what is necessary may be done.
I am Sir Your hum ser
ADfS, in H’s handwriting and signed by H, Mr. Ben Weisinger, Brooklyn, New York.
1. Van Rensselaer was the eighth patroon of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck. On June 9, 1783, he married Margarita Schuyler, one of Elizabeth Hamilton’s younger sisters.
In 1769, when Van Rensselaer was five years old, his father, Stephen Van Rensselaer, died, leaving the management of the estate to Abraham Ten Broeck, the husband of the younger Van Rensselaer’s aunt, Elizabeth Van Rensselaer. In 1786, after Van Rensselaer reached his majority, he assumed his role as patroon and in an effort to increase the cultivation of the manor lands granted perpetual leases at moderate rentals to his tenants.
See Philip Schuyler to H, July 11, 1786 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , III, 678), in which Stephen Van Rensselaer is incorrectly identified as John Van Rensselaer and the word “lands” was read for the word “leases.”
2. Space left blank in MS.