George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 9 May 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Department 9th May 1792.


I have the honor to send herewith an adjustment at the Treasury concerning the quantity of Acres in Warrants for army bounty rights, which ought to be deemed an equivalent for the 214,285, Acres of land mentioned in the second enacting clause of the Act intitled “An Act authorising the grant and conveyance of certain Lands to the Ohio Company of Associates”;1 and a Certificate of the delivery of the requisite quantity of Warrants in conformity to that adjustment.2

It is with regret I find myself required by Law to discharge an official duty in a case in which I happen to be interested as a party, and which is capable of being regulated by different constructions.3

Thus circumstanced I have conceived it proper to repose myself on the judgment of others; and having referred the matter to the accounting Officers of the Treasury, with the opinion of the Attorney General, which was previously obtained, I have governed myself by the determinations of those Officers.

I submit it nevertheless to the President whether it will not be adviseable to require as a condition to the issuing of the Grant that the parties give bond to pay any deficiency which there may be in the quantity of Warrants delivered, if the Legislature at the ensuing Session shall decide that the construction which has been adopted is not the true one, or to surrender the Letters Patent for the Tract in question.4 With the highest respect, I have the honor to be &c.

Alexander Hamilton


1Section 2 of this act of 21 April 1792 empowered the president “by letters patent as aforesaid, to grant and convey to the said Rufus Putnam, Manasseh Cutler, Robert Oliver, and Griffin Green, and to their heirs and assigns, in trust, for the uses above expressed, one other tract of two hundred and fourteen thousand two hundred and eighty-five acres of land” provided that the above-mentioned individuals “or either of them, shall deliver to the Secretary of the Treasury, within six months, warrants which issued for Army bounty rights sufficient for that purpose, according to the provision of a resolve of Congress of the twenty-third day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven” (Annals of Congress description begins Joseph Gales, Sr., comp. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature. 42 vols. Washington, D.C., 1834–56. description ends , 2d Cong., 1st sess., 1364; see also JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 33:399–401). For the dimensions of the tract, see Proclamation, 10 May 1792. For the earlier activities of the Ohio Company of Associates, see the Ohio Company Committee to GW, 13 June 1789, source note.

2Hamilton’s enclosure, a third letter to GW of this date, certified that Putnam, Cutler, Oliver, and Greene had delivered the warrants in question to the Treasury Department (DLC:GW).

3Hamilton owned five and one-half shares in the Ohio Company.

4For GW’s decision, see Proclamation, 10 May 1792.

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