George Washington Papers

Tobias Lear to Alexander Hamilton, 13 October 1792

Tobias Lear to Alexander Hamilton

United States [Philadelphia] 13th Octor 1792

By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to inform the Secretary of the Treasury that the President has appointed William Lewis to be keeper of the Light-house on Cape Henry, with a salary of four hundred Dollars per annum. The President does not conceive that the circumstance of mister Cormicks being employed to oversee the building of the Lighthouse, tho’ in his favor, as sufficiently strong to recommend him as the most proper person to be Keeper of it.1

Tobias Lear. S.P.U.S.

T. Lear has mentioned to the president the Auditor’s wish to go to Virginia, & he has no objection to his going.2


1For previous discussion of several candidates, including William Lewis and Lemuel Cornick, for appointment as lighthouse keeper at Cape Henry, Va., see Hamilton to GW, 22 Sept. 1792, and note 6. Hamilton wrote Lear from Philadelphia on 18 Oct. 1792: “Before a final step is taken respecting a Keeper of the Virginia Lighthouse, I wish it to be known to the President. . . that Mr Cornick was appointed by Colo. [Thomas] Newton to oversee the building of the Lighthouse, for which he will receive a quantum meruit. This is a circumstance in his favour tho’ a very slight one, and such as may be overruled by any other consideration. Propriety, however, requires that it should be brought into the President’s view” (DLC:GW). Cornick was appointed as keeper of the lighthouse at Cape Henry after Lewis died in November 1792 (see Lear to Hamilton, 22 Dec. 1792, DNA: RG 26, Inventory NC–31, entry 16, Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Lighthouse Service; see also the extract 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 13:356–57).

2For Hamilton’s response to Richard Harrison’s leave of absence from his position as auditor of the U.S. treasury, see Hamilton to GW, 19 Oct. 1792.

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