From Alexander Hamilton
Treasury Department New York Septr 29th 1790.
I have been duly honor’d with your two letters of the 18th and 20th of Septemr.1
My opinion on a certain subject has been forwarded, and I hope will, ere this, have come to hand.2
Inclosed you will be pleased to receive a list of such characters,3 as from the documents furnished by Mr Lear, from my inquiries, and from the intimations contained in your letter of the 20th, appear to stand, upon the whole, fairest for the command of the revenue boats; except for the stations of North Carolina and Georgia, concerning which, there is no satisfactory information.4
Capt. Montgomery is said to have on some accounts greater pretensions to respectability than Capt. Roach (tho’ both are represented to be men of merit) and something like claim to preference from situation.5
Mr Gross is submitted on the recommendation of Capt. Barney, who mentions favourably both him and a Mr Daniel Porter, naming Gross first, but without expressing a preference of either.6
The Vice President put into my hands a day or two ago, the enclosed letters concerning Captain Lyde, but as Williams, who is recommended by Governor Hancock, is also warmly recommended by Genl Lincoln, the evidence in his favor may be deemed to be preponderate.7
The manifest expediency of the previous nomination or appointment of the persons, who are to command the boats, to oversee the building and equipping of them, will suspend the further execution of the business till your pleasure, as to the persons, shall be signified. The subaltern Officers, can be appointed at greater leisure, for which purpose I am collecting information, as I am also doing in respect to Commanders for the two boats destined for North Carolina & Georgia; but I presume the others need not be delayed on this account.8 I have the honor to be with the most perfect respect and truest attachment sir Yr mo: Obt & hble servt
P.s: The British packet is just arrived.9 The rumour is, that the declarations in the enclosed paper were regarded as the prelude of peace;10 but that the matter was not consider’d as finished and accordingly the press of seamen had continued with as much vavacity as before. In the letter from the Minister to the Lord Mayor those declarations seem to be regarded in the abovementioned light. The letter says, the negotiators were about to proceed to the discussion of the other matters in dispute, with a view to a definitive arrangement.
2. Hamilton probably is referring to his answer to GW’s query on whether or not permission should be granted to Lord Dorchester to march through American territory if requested (see Hamilton to GW, 15 Sept. 1790, and enclosure).
3. The list entitled, “Persons who have been recommended for the Command of revenue Boats,” was probably a separate enclosure in the lost original. The letter-book copy reads:
|Hopley Yeaton||New Hampshire|
|John Foster Williams||Massachusetts|
|Patrick Dennis||New York|
“The last gentleman is recommended by Mr Smith, but on information, not on personal knowledge. However if an appointment is now made for that quarter, he is the person who seems to stand most favourably” (DLC:GW).
6. Simon Gross, Sr. (1709–1798), was commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Navy on 12 Oct. 1776 and resigned his commission in June 1778 to serve on a privateer (Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, description begins Charles E. Claghorn. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J., 1988. description ends 131; D.A.R. Patriot Index, description begins D.A.R. Patriot Index. Centennial Edition. 3 vols. Washington, D.C., 1990. description ends 2:1246). Hamilton notified Gross of the president’s 6 Oct. 1790 approval of his appointment sometime before 28 Oct. 1790 and forwarded him his commission as commander of the Maryland revenue cutter before 6 Dec. 1790 (see GW to Hamilton, 6 Oct. 1790, and Hamilton to GW, 28 Oct. 1790; Tench Coxe to Tobias Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW). Hamilton was mistaken, as Daniel Porter was actually David Porter (1754–1808).
7. Samuel Adams’s 2 Sept. 1790 letter to John Adams covering Nathaniel Byfield Lyde’s letter of application for command of the Massachusetts revenue cutter, which had been forwarded to Hamilton by John Adams, is in MHi: Adams Papers, as is Lyde’s application. Hamilton forgot to enclose these letters in his 29 Sept. letter and sent them to GW the following day. GW later returned them to Hamilton, who sent them back to John Adams on 4 Dec. 1790, noting, “These papers were duly transmitted to the President. . . , but could not be attended with any favorable consequences to Captain Lyde, as a commander for the Cutter on the Massachusetts Station had been appointed before they reached him” (see Hamilton to GW, 30 Sept. and 28 Oct. 1790, and GW to Hamilton, 6 and 10 Oct. 1790; see also Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:192). Nathaniel Byfield Lyde (c.1736–1808) of Boston was a member of the Boston Marine Society and resided on South School Street at the time of his death (Columbian Centinel [Boston], 6 April 1808). John Foster Williams (c.1744–1814) of Boston was commissioned in 1776 as commander of the sloop Republic, one of the first vessels built for the Massachusetts state navy, and in 1777 as commander of the brigantine Wilkes. From 1778 to 1779 he was captain of the state brig Hazard, which was destroyed during the Penobscot expedition to prevent its falling into British hands. Williams was later given command of the state frigate Protector, which was captured by the British in May 1781 (Columbian Centinel [Boston], 25 June 1814; Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, description begins Charles E. Claghorn. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J., 1988. description ends 339). Hamilton informed Williams of GW’s approval of his appointment before 28 Oct. 1790 and forwarded him his commission as commander of the Massachusetts revenue cutter before 6 Dec. 1790. He served at the post until his death (see GW to Hamilton, 6 Oct. 1790, Hamilton to GW, 28 Oct. 1790; Tench Coxe to Tobias Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW).
9. The New-York Daily Gazette on 30 Sept. 1790 announced the arrival of the British packet from Falmouth by way of Halifax.
10. The enclosed paper has not been identified.