George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 12 March 1791

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department March 12th 1791

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor respectfully to submit to the President of the United States a Contract made by the Collector of New London, with Nathaniel Richards for supplying the Light house belonging to that Port.1

This Contract not having been originally made in a manner sufficiently explanatory of the business, was returned for the purpose of being put into such form as should place before the President the particulars on which he is to decide. The Secretary humbly offers an opinion that the terms are not unfavorable to the united States.

Alexander Hamilton

Secy of the Treasury


1Jedediah Huntington, collector at New London, Conn., and superintendent of lighthouses for that state, wrote to Hamilton in September 1790 that Nathaniel Richards had agreed to supply the lighthouse there with oil, wick, candles, and soap for $380 for the year beginning 1 Oct. 1790. Hamilton found the charges excessive in spite of Huntington’s claim that the sum was the minimum needed to provision the lighthouse and instructed him to rewrite the contract itemizing quantities and prices, without which “it will be difficult for the President to form an opinion of this agreement” (Huntington to Hamilton, 22 Sept., 3 Dec. 1790, and Hamilton to Huntington, 19 Nov., 24 Dec. 1791, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:64, 158, 189–90, 381). Tobias Lear wrote to Hamilton on 14 Mar. 1791 indicating GW’s approval of the contract (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Letters Received, “Segregated” Lighthouse Records).

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