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To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 25 April 1794

From Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia] April 25. 1794.

The Secretary of the Treasury presents his respects to the President of the United States & encloses the drafts of two passports for the President’s signature. One for the Schooner Commerce, now in this Port; and the other for the Schooner Eagle at Baltimore.1

Colo. Smith of Baltimore has applied, thro’ the Secry of State, for a Passport for a small vessel (name & Captain not known) to be sent to Bermuda in ballast, for certain purposes explained in the letter herewith transmitted;2 the draft of which passport is also enclosed, & if granted by the President will be sent to the Collector of Baltimore, with instruction to fill the blanks with the names of the master and vessel.3

A. Hamilton


1According to GW’s executive journal, he signed the passports for these two vessels on 26 April. They were cleared to sail to Saint Domingue, in ballast, and to carry as passengers any inhabitants of that island wishing to return, along “with their clothing, baggage & seastores” (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 300).

2In his letter to Edmund Randolph of 23 April, Maryland congressman Samuel Smith wrote: “I send you Inclosd Mr Patterson’s Letter—& hope you will be so Obliging to apply to the President for Permission for a Vessell to depart for the purpose he describes so that the same may be sent by tomorrow’s Post.” Smith’s enclosure has not been identified, but it probably concerned the ship Betsey, owned by George Patterson of Baltimore, which currently was detained in Bermuda by the British (Moore, International Adjudications description begins John Bassett Moore, ed. International Adjudications: Ancient and Modern, History and Documents, Together with Mediatorial Reports, Advisory Opinions, and the Decisions of Domestic Commissions, on International Claims. Modern Series, Vol. 4. New York, 1931. description ends , 179–290).

“It will give You pleasure,” Smith continued, “to be Informed’d that Capt. Barney was cleared by the Petty Jury after Ten Minutes Consideration (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters). On the detention of Capt. Joshua Barney on the British island of Jamaica after the seizure of his ship Sampson in December 1793, see n.3 of Randolph to GW, 1 March.

3GW signed the enclosed passport on 26 April, and Hamilton sent it with a letter of that date to collector of customs Otho H. Williams (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 300; Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:345–46).

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