Nov 17, 2020 - Sale 2551

Sale 2551 - Lot 6

Price Realized: $ 4,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, "AHamilton," to John Murray, John Thurston, and Benjamin Strong, notifying them of whom he intends to pay for the unpaid mortgage on a plot of land purchased by Hamilton, unless they file a claim within four days. 1 page, folio; inexpertly reinforced at left and upper edges verso, some staining along right edge touching few letters of text, some chipping at lower edge, folds. New York, 2 April 1799

Additional Details

"I am informed that You are Assignees of Isaac Riley under the Insolvent Act. Some time since I purchased of Isaac Riley Eight lots in the Outward [outskirts of New York City] upon which as he then informed me there was a mortgage to Ebenezer Young for Two hundred & forty pounds which was deducted out of the purchase money & left to be paid by me pursuant to the Tenor of that mortgage. It appears that this mortgage was not recorded till within a fortnight past. In my opinion This will not defeat the right of Mr. Young's Representations to receive payment from me in preference to the Trustees. But I have thought it right nevertheless to mention the affair to you.
"If I do not within four days from the date of this letter, being the second of April, receive notice of a claim from the Trustees with the assurance of an Indemnification . . . , I shall act as if no such claim was intended to be made."
The "Insolvent Act" is likely the New York State law, "An Act to amend the Act entitled an Act for the relief of Debtors with respect to the Imprisonment of their Persons," which became law the day prior to the writing of the present letter. In a letter to New York's Lieutenant Governor Stephen Van Rensselaer on January 27, 1799, Hamilton discussed the bill, suggesting that, although the U.S. Constitution forbids state law that impairs the obligation of contracts, an acceptable law might be crafted according to which a debtor lawfully imprisoned by his creditors could be liberated, provided he satisfies certain conditions. Presumably Isaac Riley had been imprisoned for his debts, making the recipients of this letter his trustees.