David Hoffman and the Science of Jurisprudence


Letter to the Trustees, 1839

1851 - An exchange between Hoffman and the officers of the Ave Maria Company in the London Times. Ave Maria was a rival company claiming to have rights to property owned by John C. Fremont.

London Times, 1851

The London Times, Nov. 21, 1851. Page 2, Col. F

London Times, 1851

The London Times, Nov. 24, 1851. Page 7, Col. C

1852 - The letter below from Hoffman to John Duncan, the attorney for Thomas Sargent, exemplifies Hoffman's personal and aggressive style in his dealings with the many claimants to Fremont's land in California. Unfortunately for Hoffman, Fremont was not completely truthful in his dealings with his London Agent. John Fremont was, throughout this period, selling (and even giving) land to his father-in-law, Thomas Benton. A fact that would eventually leave Hoffman in a professional and financial bind.

Letter to John Duncan, Esq.*

10 Conduit Street, 1st March, 1852.

Sir - In reply to your note of the 28th, received this morning I have to state as follows:-

1st. I cannot at all admit that I was in the least benefited by the perusal of the copies you permitted me to see, only by the unavoidable compulsion of your case; but I acknowledge freely your courteous manner whilst I was examining them.

2nd. I regard then, and much more now, your situation as most eminently perilous.

3rd. Sargent, I repeat, is not the purchaser of an inch of the Mariposas.

4th. He never will be.

5th. He has been the architect of his own certain ruin, and of the sure disgrace of many.

6th. Your suits against me for Sargent, and also for the ridiculous Mr. Green, are nuts for me to crack hereafter. Proceed with them at your and their peril.

7th. My powers and numerous letters are not to be inspected by you. Hundreds have seen them and fully. That is for me quite sufficient.

8th. The horrible contrivance will come out in due time. I know it all--all.

9th. You cannot, I fear, duly appreciate your own dreadful condition, and my own strict adherence to justice, and my total indifference to all motives, save those of rigid truth.

10th. I have no vengeance in my nature; but Sir, do not, for your own sake, press me further.

11th. You are a man of talents (so say all), but talents alone will serve no man.

12th. Write me no more notes; I have neither inclination nor time to even read them--certainly not to reply to them.

13th. My previous information between the 24th of February and this 1st of March was complete.

14th. My letters received this 1st of March, 1852, are more than ample for me and for the public, here and in the United States, and as to which you and they will hear in due season.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,

David Hoffman

To John Duncan, Esq. 2 new Inn.

*David Hoffman. California, Fremont Estates and Goldmines: non-sale to Mr. T.D. Sargent. London: C. Richards, Printer, 1852.second edition. p. 3-4.

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