Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, 12 January 1795

To George Washington

Treasury Department Jan: 12. 1795.


For a considerable time past the Commissioner of Loans for New York,1 has laboured under a degree of bodily infirmity little suited to the arduous duties of his station. A belief that his demise would speedily have terminated the embarrassment, united with other considerations,2 has hitherto prevented me from officially representing his situation to you, & the possible inconvenience to the public service from it. Hitherto nothing has materially suffered. But some new shocks of his complaint have added to his inability and the disease being of the paralytic kind, there is no prospect of any considerable amendment.

Fearing that the public service may henceforth suffer, & unwilling to leave to my successor a disagreeable task; I feel it a duty, tho’ with extreme regret & reluctance, to state to you that the officer in question is now incapable of doing justice to the duties of his station;3 that there is no prospect of his restoration to a competent condition, and that in my opinion it is indispensable he should be changed with all convenient dispatch.

With perfect respect &c.

A Hamilton.

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1John Cochran.

2This is a reference to the fact that Cochran was Elizabeth Hamilton’s uncle.

3In writing this letter to Washington, H was undoubtedly influenced by the information contained in the following letter which Oliver Wolcott, Jr., wrote to Cochran on October 27, 1794: “On the examination of your accounts to the 1st of July 1794. a circumstance appears respecting which I request an explanation.

“The balance stated in favour of the United States in your Acct Current is 143.075.75
“The Cashier of the Branch Bank acknowledges that he had in Bank on your account the sum of 36.043.59
“The Warrant for the June Dividend which is not credited by the Cashier amounted to 90.834.29
“Amounting in the whole to Debit 126.877.88

“The difference between this last sum & the balance of your account Current being Dolls 16.199.87, it is presumed ought to have been in Bank & is acknowledged by the Cashier. You will be pleased to acquaint me with the situation of this money.

“Another matter will require your attention when you state the sum necessary to be advanced on account of the Dividend for the present quarter.

“It appears that the balance of your Acct Current on the 1st. of July was as stated at the Treasury 143.085.95
“The Dividend for the quarter ending June 30th. 1794 amts. to 90.832.43
“The sums remaining unpaid on anterior Dividends were 15.594.50
“The whole sum payable on the 1st. of July 1794 being 106.426.48
“You had consequently in hand more than was necessary the sum of 36,659.47

“This surplus advance has been occasioned by your practice of stating the whole amount of each Dividend, without making any allowances for the fund accruing from unclaimed Dividends, payable at the Treasury. You will therefore be pleased to pay a punctual attention to this particular in future, & apply for no more money than, is sufficient to pay the Dividends which are demandable at your office.” (ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.)

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