Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, 1 October 1792

From George Washington

Mount Vernon Octobr. 1st. 1792.


Your letter of the 22d. ulto., with it’s enclosures, came duly to hand.

Lest any material disadvantage should result from delay, I have signed the Act which has been drawn by the Commissioner of the Revenue & approved by you, for arranging allowances to the Supervisors &c. and now forward it; but I would rather, if this is not likely to be the case, have it retained in your hands until my arrival in Philadelphia, as I wish for some explanations, which I have not the means of obtaining from the want of the former Act of the 4th. of August;1 a copy of which I requested might be returned to me, but from a misconception of my meaning, a copy of my letter was sent in lieu thereof.2 I now request a copy of the Act of the 4th. of Augt. & of the present one also.

Before any nomination, or appointment of a Keeper of the Lighthouse on Cape Henry takes place,3 it would be proper to examine the List of Applicants (& I think there are several) who have applied to me for this Office, & is to be found among my papers by Mr. Lear.4 If the person recommended by Colo. Parker is intemperate in drinking, it is immaterial whether you can recollect his name or not; for, with me, this would be an insuperable objection, let his pretensions & promises of reformation be what they may. I have been once taken in by the fair promises of Major Call5 to refrain, & the strong assurances of his friends that he would do it; but will not, knowingly, trust again to the like from any one.

I have, by this Post, directed the Attorney General to attend the Circuit Court in York Town, & see that the Indictments are legally presented & properly supported.6

I am &c

G: Washington

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1For the “former Act,” which concerned the arrangement for compensation of revenue officers for the year ending June 30, 1793, see the first letter Tench Coxe wrote to H on July 25, 1792. For the arrangement of retroactive compensation for these officers, see Coxe to H, first letter of July 25, 1792, note 18, September 12, 1792; H to Washington, September 22, 1792.

4Tobias Lear, Washington’s secretary.

5On March 3, 1791, Washington had appointed Richard Call a major in the First Regiment. On August 19, 1792, Washington wrote to Henry Knox: “There can be no doubt of the propriety of bringing Major Call before a Genl. Court Martial for his intemperate conduct, for authorizing the raising of three troops of Horse at the expence of the Union … and for leaving a party of Soldiers on the So. Westn. frontier without an Officer, even a sergeant to comd. and provide for them” (GW description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington (Washington, 1931–1944). description ends , XXXII, 123).

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