Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Jean Mouchon, 2 March 1799

From Jean Mouchon1

New York, March 2, 1799. Explains his actions as an agent for La Barre and Company in a dispute concerning a shipment of wine from France to New York on the ship Chesapeake.

ADS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Mouchon was a New York City merchant at 101 Beekman Street.

This letter concerns the case of Dominique Allard v John Mouchon. In April, 1797, Mouchon, acting as an agent for the New York mercantile firm of La Barre and Company, received a shipment of wine from Bordeaux with instructions to sell the wine. In July, 1797, Allard wrote to Mouchon that the wine belonged to him, not to La Barre and Company (Mouchon to Richard Harison and Brockholst Livingston, March 4, 1799 [ADS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress]). Allard subsequently brought suit against Mouchon, and on February 21, 1799, with H as Mouchon’s attorney, the Supreme Court of New York referred the dispute to Harison and Livingston as referees. Harison and Livingston submitted a report to the court favoring the defendant, but on April 24, 1800, the court ordered that the report be set aside, stating “The facts in this case are intricate, and there exists so much doubt and obscurity on the subject, that there is reason to apprehend that the referees did not possess all the lights which may now be afforded them, and which may lead to a more satisfactory result. We therefore think the case ought to be reviewed … in order to re-examine the merits” (MS Common Rule Book, New York Supreme Court, 1797–1799, under the date of February 21, 1799 [Hall of Records, New York City]; MS Minutes of the New York Supreme Court, 1797–1800, under the date of April 24, 1800 [Hall of Records, New York City]; William Johnson, Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of New-York; from January Term 1799, to January Term 1803, Both Inclusive; Together with Cases Determined in the Court for the Correction of Errors, During that Period [New York, 1808], I, 280).

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