George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 31 January 1795

From Alexander Hamilton

Jany 31. 1795.

Mister Hamilton presents his respects to the President—sends him some memorandums of recommendations of officers of Inspection.

With regard to the Supervisor of the So. Western Territory, he is of opinion that still further information is necessary.

He believes Mister William Nichols who is the brother of Colo. Nichols to be a fit person for Inspector of the Revenue for the first survey of Pennsylvania.

He also entertains a favorable opinion of Colo. Dearborne for the like office in the province of Maine. But doubts the legality of his nomination as he was a member of Congress last Session when provision was made for an increase of the Compensations of these officers among others.1


1Hamilton was referring to “An Act laying duties on licenses for selling Wines and foreign distilled spirituous liquors by retail,” 5 June 1794. Section 6 of that law authorized the president “to make such allowances for compensation to the officers of inspection employed in the collection of the duties aforesaid, and for incidental expenses, as he shall judge reasonable, not exceeding in the whole, two and a half per centum of the total amount of the said duties collected” (1 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 376–78). At issue was the provision in Article I, section 6 of the Constitution that forbade the appointment of a congressman to “any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased,” during his term in Congress.

The District of Maine was revenue survey number 1 in Massachusetts. On 24 Feb., GW nominated John Frothingham to be inspector of the revenue for that survey.

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