Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Joseph Whipple, 23 July 1790

From Joseph Whipple

Portsmo New Hamp. July 23. 1790


I have delayed to answer your favor of the 21st. June1 in expectation that I should be enabled to inform the moti⟨v⟩es which induced the Legislature again to Negative a motion for the Cession of the Light house.

I am informed that the house of Representatives rejected the report of a Committee for Cedeing the Light house & 3 Acres of Land which included the ground Occupied for a parade & platform to the fortress Wm. & Mary—but voted to Cede the Light house with one fourth of an Acre of Land (which takes in a point of Rocks near the Fort). This Vote of the House was in the Senate Negatived.2 The grounds on which this branch of the Legislature Acted I could not learn, not having Seen one of the Members, nor the president of the State3 who precided in the Senate & to whom I have written On the Subject.

As the Matter is now circumstanced be pleased to give me your further directions respecting the payment or the Offer of payment for the year directed by the Act of Congress. The present Contract made by the State for the Support of the Light house for one year (which commenced in Feb. last) was £175 or 583 Dollars. The person who Supplied the light prior to the Contract & since the 15th of August last is now in advance 90 Dolls.—which he expects from the United States—& his estimate for a years expence was only 300 Dollars including the pay of a Soldier who attended the light.

I am very respectfully Sir yr. M. Obt. sert.

Hon Alex. Hamilton Esqr.

LC, RG 36, Collector of Customs at Portsmouth, Letters Sent, 1790–1791, Vol. 2, National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters from the Collector at Portsmouth, National Archives.

1Letter not found.

2The New Hampshire legislative journals do not agree with Whipple’s account. According to the journals, the committee of the New Hampshire Senate to which the matter was referred never reported. In the New Hampshire House of Representatives the members approved a committee report which recommended the cession of a quarter acre, and the House directed its committee to bring in a bill for the cession. There is, however, no record that the House ever considered such a bill. See the journals in The New Hampshire State Papers (Albert Stillman Batchellor, ed., Early State Papers of New Hampshire [Concord, 1893], XXII, 5–31, 40–93).

3Josiah Bartlett was elected president of New Hampshire by the legislature in June, 1790. Although he was a practicing physician, and had no legal training, Bartlett served on the superior court from 1782 to 1790 and received the post of chief justice of New Hampshire in January, 1790.

Index Entries