To Edmund Randolph1
January 2, 1795
I send you copies of two letters one from me to The Collector of Charlestown of September 4th2 & another from the comptroller to the same Officer of October 6th,3 on the subject of a construction which has been given in that port to the rules of the President4 & the Act of Congress of last session concerning the equipping of armed Vessels.5
I fear much mischief has ensued from this construction which in the end will be not a little expensive to the UStates.
It appears that the District Attorney of South Carolina6 has participated in the Error which renders it necessary that a circular instruction should go to the Officers of that description.
The like may be necessary with regard to the Executives of the respective states for which purpose copies of these letters are preparing for the Secy at War also.
On my leaving this City for the Westward in the close of Septemr. I left a memorandum with the Comptroller7 to make a communication of this matter, in order that they might cooperate, to the Secretaries of State & War. He informs me that he took an early opportunity of doing it.
With great respect I have the honor to be Sir Yr. Obed servt
The Secy of State
ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.
This letter was also sent to Timothy Pickering. In the letter to Pickering the third and fourth paragraphs were omitted, and in their place H wrote the following paragraph: “It is probable that the Executive of South Carolina [William Moultrie] has participated in the Error which renders it necessary that a circular instruction should go to the Officers of that description.”
3. No letter from Oliver Wolcott, Jr., to Holmes has been found, but on October 6, 1794, Wolcott issued a Treasury Department circular to the collectors of the customs, which incorporated several paragraphs from H’s letter to Holmes of September 4, 1794. For this circular, see H to Holmes, September 4, 1794, note 10.
4. For these rules, see “Treasury Department Circular to the Collectors of the Customs,” August 4, 1793.
5. “An Act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 381–84 [June 5, 1794]).
6. Thomas Parker.
7. H’s memorandum to Wolcott has not been found.