Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from William S. Smith, 10 November 1794

From William S. Smith1

[November 10, 1794. On November 12, 1794, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., wrote to Smith: “Your letter of the 10th. instant covering a Contract dated the 10th. day of Oct. 1794 has in the absence of the Secretary of the Treasury been read by me.”2 Letter not found.]

1Smith, John Adams’s son-in-law, had been supervisor of the revenue for the District of New York from 1791 to 1793. When this letter was written, he was heavily involved in land speculation in western New York. For Smith’s speculative activities, see Benjamin Walker to H, September 15, 1793, note 1.

2ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.

The contract in question has not been found, but in the remainder of his letter to Smith Wolcott wrote: “I cannot engage that any application to the Treasury Department on a subject which really or ostensibly concerns the Interest & rights of the United States shall be considered as confidential. If the papers are recd. they will be filed in the Secretarys office, by one of the principal Clerks, with an intimation that they are to be preserved with reasonable care at your risque, & that the contents are not to be unnecessarily or officiously promulgated.

“If these conditions are not satisfactory to you, the papers shall be interned for a few days. They shall however remain in my own possession, to afford you an opportunity to decide.

“It is however necessary for me to apprise you that the Treasury Department is not to be so viewed as in any respect implicated or concerned in any consequences resulting from this transaction, & that all authority not derived from the Government of the United States, to stipulate for the performance of a Contract by them, or for payments from their Treasury, is expressly disclaimed.”

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