From Tench Coxe1
[Philadelphia] August 26th 1797
I wrote yesterday to Mr. Church, & now trouble you with this from a presumption that he is yet absent. My letter gives some information, which as it regards his Pennsa. property, it may be well for you to see immediately. I therefore recommend your attention opening my letter to him. I have just recd. Mr. Church’s of the 19th.2 & yours of the 23d or 25th.3 In regard to the division of the tracts to give him a separate title for his interest of 17¾ tracts in Patterson & Co’s Concerne, I want it for him to that amount & for myself for the amot. of my 18¾ Tracts as much as possible. Whenever Messrs. Whelen & those concerned with him are in Town I will attend to it on a minutes notice, and it can be drawn by lot in an hour. Mr. Whelen is to give me Notice when they are here. At this time the prospect of them being soon in town is bad, as you may presume, when I tell you that from my office windows I can see ten houses that are shut up,4 between them & Mr. E. Tilghman’s5 on Chestnut Street alone, & that I shall be this Evening without a servant in my house, the two left me by Mrs. Coxe being gone on acct. of the disorder. My Clerk, who is yet with me, will proceed in all things in his power as to the papers, that are wanted in lieu of the regular details, which by preceeding papers were furnished before.6 The tax lists made up for the safety of the property have furnished the means of a correct & detailed document, which I had the pleasure to enclose yesterday, in the letter refered to above.
A similar part shall be furnished for the other part upon a division.
The draughts or plats, now in hand, will give another view of the same property, and shall be sent on when done. If I can stand my ground in the City I shall make progress in my public & private business, and a full share of my attention shall be paid to a methodical & complete exhibit of the property founded upon my former informations, & upon such knowledge of the precise local situation of the lands, as I occasionally obtain.
Our Town is much alarmed, & a little touched with putrid fever in some cases, I believe, contagious.
No Physician, Student of Physick, Apothecary, Sexton or Grave digger has died so far as I am informed.
With consideration I am Sir yr. obedt. Servt.
The Offices of the Secy. comptr. Audr. & Regr. are moved to the Green House at Gray’s Ferry.7 Mr. Francis8 has moved up to Twelfth Street permanently. His office is near Mr. Meredith9 & I remain, as heretofore. The Atty, Genl. I saw in Town this day, & the Secy. of State & War yesterday & the day before. Very various Views are taken of our Situation.
LC, Papers of Tench Coxe in the Coxe Family Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
1. For an explanation of the contents of this letter, see the introductory note to Coxe to H, February 13, 1795 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , XVIII, 262–69). See also the references cited in Coxe to H, April 13, 1793, note 3 (printed in this volume).
4. This is a reference to the effect of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in the summer and fall of 1797. See Robert Morris to John B. Church, November 1, 1797, enclosed in Morris to H, November 1, 1797 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , XXI, 308–09).
5. Edward Tilghman was a lawyer. He was the cousin of William Tilghman, who became a trustee of Coxe’s estate after 1800 (introductory note to Coxe to H, February 13, 1795 [PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , XVIII, 262–69]).
6. On September 1, 1797, Coxe wrote to John B. Church: “My Clerk has finished & sent to me … a draught of the lands in the concern of Patterson & Co. You will find your eleven (separated already) by the Names & quantity of acres. The original warantees Names are given in the draught with exactness, to make that easy. I am proceeding …” (LC, Papers of Tench Coxe in the Coxe Family Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia). On September 6, 1797, Coxe wrote again to Church: “I have just recd. from the city the two enclosed draughts A—being that of 5 tracts, in the concern of 30, with Steedman of Mar & April 1793
“& B being that of 25 in that concern, & of 155 in Ruston, Steedman & Co’s concern of June 1793.
“In the former contract you have the latter 21 tracts, conveyed by order to Mr. Joseph Anthony, of Philada. These lands lie East of Susquehannah, West of Lehi, South of Woppohawkly & North of Mahantango in Luzerne, Northumberland & Northhampton, in Pennsa. & are included in the tax lists lately sent to you.” (LC, Papers of Tench Coxe in the Coxe Family Papers at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.)
7. Gray’s Ferry, or the Lower Ferry, was on the Schuylkill about a mile south of the then city of Philadelphia in an area which is now part of the modern city. It was the site of Gray’s Gardens, from which Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr., wrote to his father on September 4, 1797: “I arrived here last evening and without exposure to the sickness in the city.… More of the houses are deserted than was the case in 1793, and business is suspended almost entirely” (George Gibbs, Memoirs of the Administrations of Washington and John Adams: Edited from the Papers of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury [New York, 1846], I, 560).
8. Tench Francis, Jr., was cashier of the Bank of North America. He and Coxe’s mother, Mary Francis Coxe, were the children of Tench Francis, Sr., a lawyer in Philadelphia and Attorney General of the Province of Pennsylvania from 1741 until his death in 1755. In addition Tench Francis’s grandson, Tench Tilghman, was the cousin of Tench Coxe and of the Edward Tilghman mentioned in note 5 above.
9. Samuel Meredith was Treasurer of the United States, or head of the Treasurer’s Office in the Treasury Department.