James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Knox, 12 December 1795

From Thomas Knox

NYork 12th December 1795


Before Mr. Monroe left America he desired me to write to you if I found it necessary.

If you have his papers, or know where they are, I think some letters may be found among them which may be useful to the Suit in Chancery with J. Kortright. Old Mr. Kortright not long before he died, which was in February 841—wrote to Mr. Monroe to settle for him his concern in lands at Smiths Clove with Judge Morris.2 John Kortright claims this tract under purchase from his Father of some years standing. These letters if they can be come at, will at least prove that the old Gentn. did not mean it as a bona fide sale. It will also correspond with other testimony, which, if taken together may perhaps shake the credit of his title to this part of the Estate.

If you can find them I beg you will do me the favor to transmit them to me & excuse the liberty of Sir, Your most obdt hmble. servant

Thomas Knox3

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Lawrence Kortright, a New York merchant, died on 19 Feb. 1794. Monroe, one of his executors and sons-in-law, gave JM power of attorney to help some of the heirs defend a suit brought by Kortright’s son, John, who claimed New York lands that were part of Kortright’s estate (Philadelphia Gazette of the U.S., 26 Feb. 1794; power of attorney from Monroe, 17 June 1794, PJM description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (1 vol. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984—). description ends , 15:347 and n. 2).

2Richard Morris was chief justice of New York, 1779–90.

3Thomas Knox, one of Lawrence Kortright’s executors and sons-in-law, was a New York merchant with premises at 28 Pine Street (will of Lawrence Kortright, Collections of the New-York Historical Society, 38 [1905]: 270; Duncan, New-York Directory [1795 ed.], p. 120).

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