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Doctor’s Mob Accounts

In researching The Doctor’s Mob of 1788 (and falling down the great rabbit hole of trying to figure out if Hamilton was there), I sorted through books, letters, and newspaper archives trying to find all of them. Many letters describing the scene appeared in multiple papers.  Here’s a list of contemporary first hand and later first hand accounts, notable second hand accounts, and contemporary commentaries (including the possible Hamilton letter),  with notes about which people they mention as having participated.

The index is mostly for my own use, as my evernote became pretty full of these articles and letters, and I was losing track of which was which!   Hear all about it on Episode 2 of the Cemetery Mixtape Podcast!

Contemporary First Hand Accounts:

1. Sarah Jay letter, 4/17/1788
   Mentions: John Jay, Clarkson, Ruthurford, “other gentlemen.”
2 letter dated april 18, “We have had mobbish times…” in SC City Gatezze, 5/14/1788
   mentions: “the magistrates” 
3: Minutes of the Common Council 
   no specific names
4: Letter of William Heth “we have been in great tumult”  (perhaps the best account; reprinted in a few sources)
    “adjutant-Gen’l of the militia,” Gov Clinton, John Jay, Gen Armstrong, Baron Von Steuben, “numbers on the governor’s side” 
5: PA Packet 4/18 “information had been given…”
   mayor (duane), sheriff (boyd), “some other gentlemen,”
6 – letter dated 4/15 in 4/19 Pennsylvania Packet “through the great imprudence…”
   John Jay, Mr. Loudon’s two sons, Baron Von S, James Carter
7: letter dated 4/16 in 4/21 Pennsylvania Packet “for these three days past our city is in a greatuproar”
   Gov (Clinton), Gen Malcolm, John Jay
8: letter in NY Daily Advertiser 4/21 “I am sorry to see my fellow citizens posessed..” 
(much more of a commentary, but mentions seeing the mob at the hospital)
    Dr. Wright Post
9 – NY Packet letter “as exaggerated accounts…- during the last winter, some students of physic..”
   Mayor, Sherriff, Chancellor, Governor, “the magistrates,” General Malcolm’s brigade (next day), Col Bauman’s regiment (next day), Chief Justice of the Grand Jury, 
10 – letter of a new yorker to his friend in Boston, 4/16  “on last sunday afternoon…” (In Boston Gazette, 1788-04-28)
   Gov, Mayor, John Jay, Commodore Nicholson, Baron Von S, 
11 – letter in Mass. Centinel 4/23 “a gentleman from new york informs us…”
   Gov, “magistrates,” “servant of Mr. Livingston,” 
12 – “letter from a gentleman” dated 4/16 opening “I am sorry to inform you” (Middlesex Gazette, 1788-04-28)
    Mayor Duane, John Jay

Later First Hand Accounts:

Later first-hand accounts tend to be much more detailed than the short letters that were published initially, but are likely a bit less reliable. 

13 – reminisces in “The Omnibus,” given Feb 1842 (night of the “Boz dinner” for Charles Dickens), apparently firsthand from an old man
   Capt Stakes, Dr Hicks, Gosman, Sir John Temple, Sam Bard (said to be out of town), Dr. Cochran, Willet, Jonathan Pearsee, Gov, Baron Von S, M. Van Groesbeck, Colonel Fish,  
14 – William Duer reminisce from 1848
   Capt. Stakes, Gov, Mayor, Recorder, “other magistrates,” Jay, Von Stueben,
15 “reminisces of an old yorker” William Duer’s other account – 1847
   Dr. Cohcran, Dr. Hicks, John Jay, Gov Clinton, Mayor, Recorder, von S, “principal inhabitants of the city,” John Bard, 
16 – William Alexander Dunlap, circa 1839
   John Temple, Hicks, Clinton.

Notable Second Hand Accounts

These all come from 18th and 19th century sources – biographies of participants (mostly doctors and medical students), plus the letter Jefferson wrote in Paris. 

B1 – Thomas Jefferson letter, another says the account was given to him by John Paradise

  Gov Clinton, Jay, Steuben
b2 – Thacher bio on Dr. Richard Bayley
   Dr. Wright Post
b3 – William Jay bio of his father, John Jay
   John Jay, Col. Hamilton, 
b4 – John C. Hamilton bio on his father,  Alexander Hamilton
   Hamilton, Jay
b5 – 1861 alexander hosack in Dr. David Hosack bio
  Dr. Hosack, “Mr Mount” (Hosack was as student; was later Hamilton’s doctor)
b6 1889 exhibition catalog entry by Jay and Clarkson’s granddaughter, exhibiting the sword John Jay carried to fight the mob
   Jay, “Hamilton and Other Citizens.” 
b7 – Samuel Bard Bio 1822 by John McVickar
b8 Grant Thorburn, entrepreneur, said he heard it from Hamilton himself. Details otherwise off.
b9 alexander anderson 2nd hand
b10 1851 retelling from Noah’s Weekly Messenger
b11 Poughkeepsie Journal , 4/22/1788 report on the mob

Contemporary Articles / Commentaries Relating to the Mob

These are affidavits and commentaries that tell us a great deal about how the mob affected the city and the brand new nation, but don’t tell us who was present or what happened:

c1 Chief Justice Morris note in New York Daily Advertiser “all offenses committed…”
c2 richard bayley affidavit in New York Daily Advertiser
c3 charles mcknight affidavit in New York Daily Advertiser
c4 Ebenezer Graham, john parker, george gillasspy affidavit in New York Daily Advertiser
c5 john hicks affidavit in New York Daily Advertiser
c6 – bayley expanded “doctor bayley is at all times…”  (1-6 all in NY Journal 1788-04-17)
c7 3: Letter from Jos Young to Daily Advertiser, 4/19 “This subscriber…unimpeachable character:
c8 “all popular tumults” letter in New York Journal, 1788-04-19  (this is the one that I suspect may be by Hamilton; the full text is here)
c9: “A correspondent observes that the melancholy occasion….” in Independent Gazetter 1788-04-23
c10 letter on dangers of cadavers, opens “a medical correspondent observes that several prominent men in the faculty have died thru’ absorbing putrefaction” NY Journal 1788-04-30