Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Tench Coxe, 4 June 1794

From Tench Coxe

Treasury Department, Revenue Office, June 4, 1794. States that “the business of live Oak and cedar1 is in a state of maturity for decision.”

LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives.

1Coxe was negotiating for the procurement of live oak and cedar timber to be used in the construction of frigates. See Henry Knox to H, April 21, 1794.

On June 7, 1794, Coxe wrote to Knox that John T. Morgan, a master shipwright from Boston, would for two thousand dollars per year “procure & superintend the cutting of wood and act as builder of the Frigate,” and on June 12 he sent Morgan his instructions (LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives). On June 15, 1794, Coxe wrote to Jedediah Huntington, collector of customs at New London, Connecticut, and commissioned him to hire sixty axemen and thirty ship carpenters in New England (LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives). On June 17 Coxe wrote to Daniel Stevens and Isaac Holmes at Charleston and John Habersham and Joseph Clay at Savannah: “A mature arrangement with Mr. Morgan was converted into a contract on … the 9th instant.… It is executed by me on the part of the U States.… It now appears most convenient and expedient to apply to you to make the contracts in behalf of the United States, for the live Oak & cedar timbers necessary for the construction of four ships of 44 guns and two of 36 guns.… You will consider this as your sufficient authority. Mr. Morgan you will please to consider as the person employed by the U: S: to Superintend the fitting, moulding & transmission to the proper places under your directions …” (LC, RG 75, Letters of Tench Coxe, Commissioner of the Revenue, Relating to the Procurement of Military, Naval, and Indian Supplies, National Archives).

Stevens was supervisor of the revenue for South Carolina; Holmes was collector of customs at Charleston; Habersham was collector of customs at Savannah; Clay was a merchant in Savannah.

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