George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 20 July 1793

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasy Depmt July 20th 1793.

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor respectfully to enclose to the President of the United States a Commission which has been returned by John Finley second mate of the Cutter Vigilant, he having resigned that office.

John Tanner of New York is recommended by Capt: Dennis to the office of first mate in the said Cutter. His recommendations from several merchants & others, which appear to be stronger than usual, are herewith submitted to the consideration of the President.1

Alexander Hamilton


1For the three letters to Hamilton of 15 July that recommended Capt. John Tanner’s character, need for employment, and seamanship, see those from Thomas Randall et al., Comfort Sands, and Benjamin Walker (DLC:GW; extracts in Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 15:98–99). Hamilton apparently also enclosed the letters of recommendation that Capt. Patrick Dennis, the current commander of the New York revenue cutter Vigilant, had received from Robert North of 8 July, Jonathan Lawrence of 11 July, Elias Nexsen of 12 July, and Richard and Lawrence Yates of 15 July (DLC:GW). GW received Hamilton’s letter and its enclosures on 22 July. On the following day, GW sent Finley’s returned commission to Thomas Jefferson and directed that Tanner’s commission “as 1st. Mate” be prepared. GW signed Tanner’s commission on 24 July (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 205–6). For another candidate for this office, see Elihu Marshall to GW, 25 Mar. 1793. New York City native John Tanner may be the same sea captain who commanded the sloop Cornelia and the brig Charming Molly during their use as privateers during the Revolutionary War, and who applied unsuccessfully for a federal appointment in a letter to GW of 1 Jan. 1790 (Bonds for Letters of Marque, 2 Oct. 1780 and 29 Sept. 1781, item 196, in DNA:PCC).

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