Alexander Hamilton Papers

Tobias Lear to Samuel Hanson, [21 April 1792]

Tobias Lear to Samuel Hanson1

[Philadelphia April 21st: 1792]2


I am directed by the President [of the U. S.] to acknowlege the receipt of your letter of the 10th of March3 and to give you the following answer.

The law appears to contemplate the surveyor where there is one at a Port, as the person who is ordinarily to perform the service of measuring Vessels,4 and it may be inferred that the exercise of the power given to the Collector to appoint persons for the purpose is intended to be auxiliary and occasional only.

Under this view of the matter and as the power of appointment is expressly vested in the Collector, there does not appear to be propriety in a special interposition to produce the arrangement you desire, contrary to his judgment of what the public service requires.

[With esteem & consideration   I have the honor to be Sir   Yr Most Obed ser

Tobias Lear. S. P. U. S.

Samuel Hanson of Samls Esqr]

DfS, in the handwriting of H and Tobias Lear, RG 59 Miscellaneous Letters of the Department of State, 1790–1799, National Archives.

1Lear was George Washington’s secretary; Hanson was surveyor of the port of Alexandria, Virginia.

For information concerning the contents of this letter, see H to Charles Lee, January 18, 1792, note 3 (PAH description begins Harold C. Syrett, ed., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York and London, 1961– ). description ends , X, 522–23).

2The material within brackets in this letter is in Lear’s handwriting.

3ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters of the Department of State, 1790–1799, National Archives.

4See Section 44 of “An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845). description ends 169 [August 4, 1790]).

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