George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 16 April 1794

To Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia, 16 April 1794]

Having thought fit to appoint Nathaniel Cabot Higginson, of the City of Philadelphia, attorney at law, as an Agent on behalf of the United States, to proceed to the british West India Islands for certain purposes relating to the Ships or vessels of the United States, which have been, or may be seized & sent into the ports of any of those Islands by british cruisers, since the commencement of the present war between great britain & France:1

I do hereby direct you to cause to be advanced to the said Nathaniel Cabot Higginson, Five thousand dollars, out of the fund of ten thousand dollars, appropriated for defraying the contingent charges of Government, on account of his compensation & expenses as Agent, and the expenses of his said agency, for which he is to be held accountable.2

Given under my hand the 16 day of April 1794.

Geo: Washington.


1On the appointment of Higginson, see Hamilton to GW, 2 April, and n.2 to that document.

2For the establishment of a contingency fund for use by the president, see section 3 of “An Act making appropriations for the support of government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety,” 26 March 1790 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:105). Hamilton acknowledged GW’s request in a letter written later this day: “The Secretary of the Treasury presents his respects to the President of the United States and encloses herewith the draft of a Warrant for five thousand dollars, relating to Mr Higginson’s mission, for the Presidents signature” (LB, DLC:GW). For the instructions that accompanied this warrant, see Hamilton to Higginson, this date (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:288–91).

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