George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 16 June 1794

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Dept June 16. 1794.


It is with regret, I inform you, that another Collector has suffered Treasury drafts to return unpaid, which were drawn upon monies reported by him to be in his hands. Abraham Archer Esquire of York town. Inclosed are letters of apology on the subject.1 All the drafts which were at first declined were afterwards paid.

I perceive nothing substantially to distinguish this case from that of the Collector of Tappahannock who was lately superceded on a similar account.2 Nor can I forbear however painful the task, to submit it as my opinion in this as in that case, that the good of the public service requires a displacement of the officer. Punctuality in this respect is too indispensable not to be made the invarible condition of continuance in office.3 With perfect respect &c.

A. Hamilton


1The enclosed letters have not been identified. Abraham Archer was appointed collector of customs for Yorktown, Va., in August 1789, and given the added position of inspector of the revenue for Yorktown in March 1792 (GW to the U.S. Senate, 3 Aug. 1789 and 6 March 1792 [third letter]). He was almost certainly the man who served under state authority as naval officer for the District of York River in the 1770s and 1780s (Purdie’s Virginia Gazette [Williamsburg], 30 May 1777; Va. State Council Journals, 1:418, 4:100, 102).

2For the case of Hudson Muse, the collector for Tappahannock, Va., see Muse to GW, 27 Jan., and n.3 to that document, and Hamilton to GW, 10 February.

3Bartholomew Dandridge, Jr., wrote Hamilton on this date, returning "the papers relative to the Collector of York" and announcing, "The President is opinion that his conduct has made it necessary that he should be superceded; & wishes the Secretary to make enquiry for a proper character to take his place" (DLC:GW).

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