George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 28 October 1790

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department [Philadelphia]
October 28th 1790.


I had the honor duly to receive your two letters of the 3d and 6th inst:. The packet for the Baron de Steuben contained in the former, was delivered to him agreeably to your direction.1 The papers concerning Capt. Lyde were transmitted by the post following that which took my letter of the 29th Ulto.2

No more proper characters having been pointed out by further enquiry, I have, pursuant to your instructions, informed the several persons named in your letter of the 6th inst: of your intention to appoint them to the command of the revenue Cutters on the stations set therein against their several names, except Capt. Law.3

As the information contained in my letter of the 8th instant, could not have reached you at the date of that of the third, which I had the honor to receive from you, it appeared proper to wait your instructions subsequent to its receipt. I however still continue in the opinion, that Captain Law is the most eligible of the two Gentlemen.4

I have instructed the Captains of the Cutters to aid the Collectors of the Districts in which they reside, in the building and equipment of their respective Vessels, and I have informed them, that on your arrival at the seat of Government, the Secretary of State will receive your instructions, to transmit their Commissions.5 Among other modes of obtaining a list of persons suitable for the stations of first, second, and third mates, to be submitted for your consideration, with such as may be otherwise suggested to you, I have thought it proper to request information from the several Collectors employed in building the Vessels, and from the intended commanders. They have been instructed, if possible, to furnish among the names proposed, those of some persons qualified as pilots on their respective stations.6 I have the honor to be with the highest respect Sir Your most obedient & most hble Servt

Alexander Hamilton


1GW mentioned neither an enclosed packet for Steuben nor directions for its delivery in the receiver’s copy of his first letter to Hamilton of 3 Oct. 1790, but he may have written a postscript on the now lost receiver’s copy of his second letter of 3 Oct. 1790 (see the enclosure to Hamilton to GW, 15 Sept. 1790, n.9, and Hamilton to GW, 21 Sept. 1790, n.5).

3For the revenue cutters authorized by the 4 Aug. 1790 Collection Act, see Hamilton to GW, 10 Sept. 1790, n.1.

4For the rivalry between John Maltbie and Richard Law for command of the Connecticut cutter, see GW to Hamilton, 27 Sept. 1790, n.4, 6 Oct. 1790 and note 4, and 4 Nov. 1790, Hamilton to GW, 29 Sept. 1790, n.3, and 8 Oct. 1790.

5The commissions were sent out from the Treasury Department sometime before 6 Dec. 1790 (see Tench Coxe to Tobias Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW).

6GW acknowledged receipt of and replied to Hamilton’s 28 Oct. 1790 letter on 4 Nov. 1790.

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