From Tobias Lear
Saturday June 30th. 1792
The President of the U. S. wishes the opinion of the Secry. of State whether the present chief Coiner of the Mint is properly authorized by the resolution of Congress passed on the 3d day of March 1791.
Dft (DNA: RG 59, MLR). FC (Lb in same, SDC).
The congressional resolution in question authorized the President to engage such “principal artists” as were necessary for the service of the Mint (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , i, 402; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , i, 309). Washington wished to know if this resolution constituted sufficient authorization for Henry Voigt to act as chief coiner of the Mint, but the broader implications of the question became apparent when the Attorney General was sounded as to whether, under the terms of the 2 Apr. 1792 act of Congress establishing the Mint, Voigt could be temporarily commissioned while the Senate was in recess. After Randolph rendered an opinion in the negative, Washington approved Rittenhouse’s employment of Voigt as chief coiner, but waited until the Senate had confirmed his nomination in January 1793 before issuing a commission (Randolph to TJ, 7 July 1792; Washington to TJ, TJ to Washington, and Washington to Rittenhouse, all 9 July 1792; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828 description ends , i, 127; Taxay, Mint, description begins Don Taxay, The U.S. Mint and Coinage: An Illustrated History from 1776 to the Present, New York, 1966 description ends 102).