Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Nathaniel Hazard, [9 March 1791]

From Nathaniel Hazard1

[New York, March 9, 1791]


Mr. White Matlack, who is one of our first Ale Brewers in this City, goes to Philadelphia on Business, of what Nature I know not, which I understand, will lead him to wait upon you. One Part of his private Business he tells me, is to review the Operations of a Steel Furnace which he erected there, & has lain d⟨or⟩mant for some Months. This Article is of very great Consumption in America. It is made of various Kinds, as good as english, & afforded cheaper. There are some Kinds not yet introduced, particularly that of the german Mode & Temper, which may easily be done. Mr. Matlack is not averse to a moderate Excise on american, provided, a proportionably heavy one, is laid on foreign Steels. I have been for several Years, Agent for the Sale of that made at Matlack’s Furnace. I apprehend the Consumption of Steel in America is little short of 3000 Tons per Annum. The Use of american Porter & Beer is rapidly increasing, particularly in the Southern States. The Vend of Snuff is not inconsiderable, & confined to the Northern, principally. Of these Articles I speak professionally, or occupationally; having dealt extensively in them for several Years. Of Course, I have been led to examine the principal Markets for them, from Boston, ⟨to⟩ Savanna, with Attention. Mr. Maxwell2 has no Objection to Ten Cents pr. Pound Weight of Snuff, which I think however too high, for a Beginning.3 Mr. Lispenard4 has none to a moderate Excise on Porter; nor Mr. Matlack to one on Ale & american Steel. If capital Manufacturers do not object, I conceive others cannot complain. I have Minutes on these Subjects in my Possession, that have lain by me many Months, which I wish to arrange & compress, & submit to your leisureable Inspection. In August last were published in Childs’s Paper, “Hints &c on an american Excise” signed “Columbianus”5 containing Sentiments, exactly similar to mine on that Subject; they were republished in Carey’s Museum for September last.6 I can furnish from my own Experience, Facts, which appear to me convincing Data, that a Revenue may be raised of above 80,000 Dollars per Annum, from the Articles I have mentioned, & they be excised agreeably to the Makers Wishes. Mr. Matlack is a Man of Candor, Enterprize & Information, & nearly related to Mr. Haines7 a considerable Brewer in Philadelphia. Perhaps it may not be useless to converse with him on this Subject, as he has other Business he tells me, which will lead him to wait upon you. I am Sir with as much Truth, Esteem & Respect, as Talents, Virtue & Perseverance combined, alone ought to excite, in the Hearts of honest, unambitious, independent Men, who only can judge of, & do Honor to real Merit, your Friend & most obedient Servant

Nathl. Hazard

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Hazard was a New York City merchant and ironmonger.

2William Maxwell of New York City was a snuff and tobacco manufacturer.

3Hazard is referring to an excise of ten cents on snuff.

4Anthony Lispenard was a prominent brewer of New York City.

5The [New York] Daily Advertiser, August 3, 1790. Francis Childs was the publisher of this newspaper.

6“Hints and Conjectural Observations on the Subject of an American Excise,” The American Museum, VIII (September, 1790), 136–40. Mathew Carey was the publisher of The American Museum.

7Caspar Haines.

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