To Edmund Randolph
T.D. Aug 13th 1793
It has been the practice with the board of Treasury and it has been continued by this Department in cases of advertisements relative to contracts or other public business, to subjoin a note requesting the Printers throughout the united States or in some cases certain Printers to insert such advertisements in their respective Papers.
It has been customary to pay such printer or printers who in the first instance were desired to insert such advertisements; but it has been understood that those Printers who chose to make the insertion in consequence of the note directed to them, were to do it gratis.
Though this is a case of a trifling amount, yet if the principle should be applied in a retrospective view, it would perhaps be of sufficient importance to obtain a decision in a higher court.
I request that you will consult the Attorney of the District3 on the case, and give me your opinion as early as convenient.
With respectful consideration I am Sir Your obedt Servt
PS. The Atty of the District had the case under his attention when before the Alderman. He will be able to inform you whether there be any particular circumstance foreign to the general Question.
The Attorney General of the united States
Df, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.
1. Brown, who had come to the United States from northern Ireland in 1773, had served as a major and deputy mustermaster general for the Eastern Department during the American Revolution. He began publication of The Federal Gazette, and Philadelphia Evening Post in October, 1788. In April, 1790, the name of the newspaper was changed to The Federal Gazette and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser.
2. Meredith was treasurer of the United States.
3. William Rawle.