Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William Ellery, 30 October 1792

From William Ellery

Colls Offe. [Newport, Rhode Island] Oct. 30 1792


My bondsmen as Commr of the Loan-Office1 have applied to me to know whether my bond had been cancelled. It was not in my power to give them positive information. If my accounts as Commr of the Loan-Office have been adjusted and found to be right as I presume they have, I wish that bond may be transmitted to me; unless it is cancelled, or it should be contrary to usage to deliver up bonds under such circumstances. If the latter I should be happy to be made acquainted with the reasons on which such usage is founded. If my accts. have not been adjusted I wish it may be done as soon as possible.2

I am, with great consideration   Sir, Yr. most obedt. servant

Wm Ellery

A Hamilton Esqr.
Secry Treasy

LC, Newport Historical Society, Newport, Rhode Island.

1Ellery had been elected commissioner of the Continental loan office of Rhode Island on April 18, 1786. His accounts as loan officer were settled at the Treasury on October 21, 1791 (copy, RG 217, Miscellaneous Treasury Accounts, 1790–1894, Account No. 1677, National Archives).

2On November 29, 1792, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., comptroller of the Treasury, under H’s direction answered Ellery’s letter as follows: “… it has not been the usage of the Treasury to deliver up, on the settlement of accounts, the bonds which have been taken to secure the fidelity of public Officers.

“As reasons in support of this practice, it may be observed that it is a supposeable case, that what was intended as a final settlement & acquittance, may have been made on a partial or erroneous representation of the manner in which the trust was executed, in which case it is clear that the bond would not be discharged. It may also be necessary that the Office of the Treasury should be able to produce bonds, which have been discharged in vindication of their own conduct, if it should be called in question.

“The nature of your office, as well as the manner in which it was executed, will however fully exempt you or your sureties, from any inconvenience from the practice which has obtained, & to which in some cases it is obviously necessary to adhere.

“I have for your satisfaction & for that of your sureties enclosed triplicate Certificates from the Registrar, as evidence that all your accounts as Loan Officer are closed in the books of the Treasury by a final settlement.” (ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford.)

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