Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Bush, 17 February 1794

To George Bush

Treasury Department,
February 17th. 1794.


In your letter of the 5th. instant1 it is mentioned that the Merchants of Wilmington claimed an indulgence of 30 days after Bonds for duties fall due on a supposition of a similar indulgence at the Bank of the United States.

This is probably a mistaken conception of a different arrangement for selling drafts at the Bank upon collectors,2 for which in some instances a credit of 30 days is allowed to the purchaser and which does not operate to prolong the term of credit to the merchant.

The subject respecting drawbacks will be attended to in the present session of Congress and I believe will be regulated as desired.3

In a recent settlement made at the Treasury with the Judge of the District of Delaware4 for salary it appears that two quarters salary have been paid to Mr. Bedford by you. Though the payment will be admitted as a credit in your account it ought to be observed that it was not authorised by any instruction from this Department and therefore irregular as well on that account as also deviating from the rule that salary accounts (where there is no instruction to the contrary) are to be paid quarterly upon settlements at the Treasury.

It is hoped that proper exertions will be made to bring up such of your returns as may be in arrears.

I am Sir   Your Obedient Servant

Alexander Hamilton

LC, RG 56, Letters to Collectors at Small Ports, “Set G,” National Archives.

1Letter not found.

2For the arrangement for selling at the banks of New York and North America the treasurer’s drafts upon collectors, see H to William Seton, December 3, 1790; Seton to H, December 9, 28, 1790, February 16, August 15, 1791. The arrangement was apparently continued with the Bank of the United States after its establishment. see H to the President and Directors of the Bank of the United States, January 28, 1792.

The demand by the Wilmington merchants for an indulgence of thirty days may also have arisen from their knowledge of special arrangements with the Bank of the United States and earlier with the Bank of New York during periods of financial strain in the spring of 1792 and again in the spring of 1793. see H to Seton, March 19, 1792; Seton to H, March 21, 1792; H to the President and Directors of the Bank of the United States, April 10, 1792; “Treasury Department Circular to the Collectors of the Customs,” February 22-March 5, 1793; “Treasury Department Circular to the Presidents and Directors of the Offices of Discount and Deposit of the Bank of the United States,” February 23-March 5, 1793.

3See H to Benjamin Lincoln, January 22, 1794. On June 4, 1794, Congress passed “An Act for extending the Benefit of a Drawback and Terms of Credit in certain cases, and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 372–73).

4The unauthorized payment was made to Gunning Bedford, Jr., for his salary from April 1, 1793, through September 30, 1793 (D, RG 217, Miscellaneous Treasury Accounts, 1790–1894, Account No. 5031, National Archives).

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