Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Benjamin Lincoln, 7 March 1794

To Benjamin Lincoln

Treasury Department March 7th 1794


A paper of which the inclosed is a copy1 was put into my hands by a Gentleman by way of information. It is said, that the original was addressed to the British Consul at Boston.2

I request from You an explanation of this affair. The threat of the resentment of the Citizens was a circumstance, if it existed, particularly unguarded and improper in an official communication.3

With much consideration & esteem

Benjamin Lincoln Esqr
Collector Boston

L[S], RG 36, Collector of Customs at Boston, Letters from the Treasury, 1789–1807, Vol. IV, National Archives; ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford; copy, RG 56, Letters to the Collector at Boston, National Archives; LC, RG 56, Letters to Collectors at Small Ports, “Set G,” National Archives.

1The enclosure, dated February 15, 1794, and signed by United States officers of the port of Boston, reads as follows:

“Captain [John Foster] Williams commanding the continental revenue Cutter has this morning in the course of his duty seen a small British Ship lying in Nantasket roads under a command not to discover what or whence she is.

“This improper conduct demands your immediate notice and attention to prevent those rigid measures which are within the extent of our commissions, or that resentment of the citizens which cannot fail to accompany the general public report of this fact.” (Copy, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.)

2Thomas MacDonough was British consul at Boston.

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