George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 25 April 1793

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasy Departt 25th Aprl 1793.

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to submit to the President of the U. States, two communications from the Comissioner of the Revenue;1 one enclosing a Contract entered into by the Superintendant of the Delaware Lighthouse with Matthew Van Dusen, for a mooring chain for one of the floating beacons in the Delaware bay.2 the other transmitting an offer of Samuel Wheeler concerning two Iron Lanterns for the Lighthouses on Tybee & Cape Fear Islands.3

It appears that due pains have been taken to place the business upon the best footing practicable for the U. States and that the terms are as reasonable as there is a prospect of obtaining.4 The objects are indispensable.

All wch is humbly submitted

Alex: Hamilton
Secy of the Treasury

A House for the Keeper & an Oil Vault for the Bald house establishment will be finally necessary, & it will conduce to œconomy to make them concurrent operations.


1These two letters from Tench Coxe to Hamilton have not been identified.

2The contract between the superintendent of Delaware lighthouses, William Allibone, and Matthew Van Dusen, a blacksmith from the township of Northern Liberties near Philadelphia, was signed on 9 April 1793 (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790–1812).

3Samuel Wheeler of Montgomery County, Pa., signed a contract for lanterns at Bald Head Island in the Cape Fear River of North Carolina and Tybee Island, Ga., on 23 April (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790–1812).

4Both contracts were submitted to GW on 26 April (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 121). On 27 April, Tobias Lear wrote Hamilton: “By the President’s command T. Lear has the honor to return . . . with the President’s approbation annexed, the Contract . . . with Matthew Van Dusen . . . & the proposal of Samuel Wheeler. . . . The President approves of the suggestion of the Secretary to make the building of a House for the Keeper & a vault for the oil, at the Baldhead Lighthouse concurrent operations” (DLC:GW). Next to his signature on the contract between Allibone and Van Dusen, GW wrote: “Approved, so far as it respects the new chain; but is there an entire loss of the old one?” (DS [photocopy] , DLC:GW, ser. 9). A letter-book copy of this contract, containing the above question in the writing of a clerk, is in DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790–1812.

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