Coxe, Tench (1755-1824)
Autograph Letter Signed, probably while Secretary of the Pennsylvania Land Office, Lancaster, December 5, 1800, to Edward Burd, Prothonotary of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Philadelphia

folio, one page, plus stamp-less address leaf, paper slightly tanned, otherwise, neatly inscribed in ink.

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Coxe writes:


      “Dear Sir,

              I forgot to procure from your office the rule concerning the hearing of the Mandamus, and the deposition of Mr. Gibson. I will thank you to cover them to me by the first mail, with the fees marked, and I will pay you when I attend the court. If the rule does not shew the day or days on which my attendance will be necessary, I will thank you to mark the time as nearly as you can Judge on one of the papers… Tench Coxe…”


       Briefly arrested on suspicion of British sympathies during the Revolutionary War, Coxe began a long political career as a Whig elected to the Continental Congress; as a Federalist, served as Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s deputy and Commissioner of the Revenue; after his Pennsylvania land work, turned Democratic-Republican, for which he was rewarded by Jefferson with a nine-year federal appointment for military procurement – meanwhile being reviled by political enemies in both parties as “Mr. Facing Bothways.” Besides co-authoring with Hamilton the classic early report on American manufacturing, he was a prolific writer on a wide variety of political and economic subjects, especially notable for ardently defending Constitutional “gun rights” and promoting the cotton industry in the South.


      This letter possibly relates to the United States Supreme Court decision that year in the case of “Commonwealth vs. Tench Coxe” concerning Pennsylvania land claims of the Holland Company, which had extensive land holdings north and west of the Allegheny River. The Court ruled in favor of Coxe and other representatives of the company. Coxe went on to become a Court Clerk in Philadelphia until his retirement in 1818.