Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to William Lewis, 12 February 1791

To William Lewis

Treasury Department February 12th 1791


The following case1 occours in the transactions of the Treasury.

The husband of a deceased Administratrix after her death applies at the Treasury for the settlement of an account which was relative to the administration of the wife. The Officers of the Treasury, without notice of her decease, make settlement and grant a Certificate for a balance due, in the name of the husband.

Other parties have since taken out administration de bonis non, upon the estate to which the balance was due, and now apply for a settlement, and a certificate.

Are they entitled to it? or can it with propriety be refused?

The parties all belonged to the state of massachusetts. It is agreed that by the laws of that state, if the wife had been living at the time of the settlement it would have been well made with the husband without her cooperation. The Question therefore turns on her death and the want of notice.

I have the honor to be   with great consideration   sir   Your obedt servt

Alexander Hamilton

William Lewis Esqr
Attorney for the district
of Pennsylvania

LS, RG 217, Miscellaneous Treasury Accounts, 1790–1894, Account No. 1268, National Archives.

1This case concerned a claim against the estate of Dr. Daniel Scott of Boston by “Samuel Cobb, Mercht. & Abijah Cheever, Physician both of the Town of Boston,… as administrators to the Estate … For … the balance which appeared due to the said Estate, for sundry Medicines & Chirugical Instruments, furnished for the use of the Department of the late General Hospital.…” Margaret Scott Page, Scott’s widow, had acted as administratrix, and after her death the amount due the estate was paid by the Treasury Department to “the Credit of John Page, as Administrator on the Estate of the said Daniel Scott.” The documents pertaining to this case may be found in RG 217, Miscellaneous Treasury Accounts, 1790–1894, Account No. 1268, National Archives.

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