George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, 6 October 1790

To Alexander Hamilton

Mount Vernon Octr 6th 1790.

Sir

I have received your letter of the 29th ulto. The papers concerning Capt. Lyde, put into your hands by the Vice President, which you say were enclosed to me,1 have not been transmitted—but from the recommendations in favor of Captain Williams, I think him entitled to a preference.

Not being possessed of any commissions, I have to request (unless your farther enquiry should point to more proper characters) that you will signify to the undermentioned persons my intention to appoint them to command the revenue Cutters on the stations opposite their respective names, and that you will furnish them with the necessary instructions for proceeding to superintend the building and equipment of their several Vessels.2

Hopley Yeaton3 New Hampshire
John Foster Williams Massachusetts
Richard Law4 Connecticut
Patrick Dennis5 New York
James Montgomery Pennsylvania
Simon Gross Maryland
Richard Taylor Virginia
William Hall South Carolina

I am, Sir, Yr most Obedt Servant6

Go: Washington

LB, DLC:GW.

For the background to the Revenue Cutter Service created by the 4 Aug. 1790 Collection Act, see Hamilton to GW, 10 Sept. 1790, n.1.

2Three weeks later Hamilton wrote the president that he had informed cutter captains to assist the customs collectors of their districts in the building and equipping of their respective vessels (see Hamilton to GW, 28 Oct. 1790).

3Hopley Yeaton (1740–1812) of Portsmouth, N.H., was commissioned a lieutenant in the Continental Navy in October 1776 and served under Capt. Samuel Nicholson, who recommended him for a captaincy in September 1779, but no vacancies then existed (Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, description begins Charles E. Claghorn. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J., 1988. description ends 345; D.A.R. Patriot Index, description begins D.A.R. Patriot Index. Centennial Edition. 3 vols. Washington, D.C., 1990. description ends 3:3321). Yeaton served as coxswain for the vessel in which GW toured Portsmouth harbor during the president’s 1789 visit to New England (see Yeaton to GW, 11 Dec. 1789 and source note). Hamilton notified Yeaton of the president’s intention to appoint him to the command of the New Hampshire revenue cutter before 28 Oct. 1790 and wrote to Nicholas Gilman on 19 Nov. 1790 that “Before I had the honor to receive your letter relative to Captain Hall, the President. . . had appointed Captain Hopley Yeaton to the Command of the Revenue Cutter which is to be built in New Hampshire. As it has happened in other instances it is possible Captain Hall, tho’ recommended as Master may accept the Station of first Mate” (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:158). Yeaton’s commission was sent him before 6 Dec. 1790 (see Tench Coxe to Tobias Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW).

4Richard Law, Jr. (1763–1845), was commissioned 2d mate on the brig Marquis de Lafayette in June 1781 and served as such till the end of the Revolutionary War (Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, description begins Charles E. Claghorn. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J., 1988. description ends 181; D.A.R. Patriot Index, description begins D.A.R. Patriot Index. Centennial Edition. 3 vols. Washington, D.C., 1990. description ends 2:1751). Hamilton hesitated to appoint Law as commander of the Connecticut revenue cutter because of the pretensions of rival candidate John Maltbie. In November or December 1790 David Phipps also applied for command of the Connecticut cutter, but GW signified his approval of Law’s appointment on 4 Nov. 1790, and a commission was forwarded him before 6 Dec. (see Hamilton to GW, 8 and 28 Oct. 1790, and GW to Hamilton, 4 Nov. 1790; Coxe to Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, and Lear to Hamilton, 11 Dec. 1790, both in DLC:GW).

5For an identification of New York harbor pilot Patrick Dennis, see Dennis to GW, 22 June 1790, source note. Hamilton notified him of GW’s intention to appoint him to the command of the New York revenue cutter before 28 Oct. 1790, and his commission was sent out before 6 Dec. 1790 (see Hamilton to GW, 28 Oct. 1790; Coxe to Lear, 6 Dec. 1790, DLC:GW).

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