Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Tench Coxe, 13 December 1792

From Tench Coxe

Treasury Department, Revenue Office, December 13, 1792. “The Supervisor of North Carolina not having yet answered my letter of the 14th September relative to a variation of the arrangement of the State,1 nor having transmitted the Name of any person as suitable to fill the Office of Inspector of the 1st Survey vacant by the resignation of James Read Esqr.2 I have the honor to communicate to you the result of my reflexions after a careful examination and particular enquiry of several of the Members of the two houses of Congress from that State. It appeared probable that the three sea Coast Surveys … might be converted … into two.… Enquiry has been made of the honble Mr. Johnson, Hawkins, Steele and Grove3 (which last Gentleman represents that part of the State) who approve of the suggested alteration.… It is … to be observed that the Inspector of the 2nd Survey4 will continue to possess a mark of the public confidence in the office of Collector of the Customs for Newbern and that the Emoluments of the Inspectorship being only a third of a Commission of 2 pr. Cent on 1000 Dollars can be no object. It is indeed plain, that Mr. Daves has never regarded the office as worthy of attention.… The persons who have been mentioned as qualified for the office of Inspector of the 1st Survey are Col. Robert Rowan,5 of Fayetteville, Mr. Callender6 of Wilmington and Col. Overton7 … who resides on Cape Fear River about 50 Miles above Fayetteville.… The extract from the Supervisors letter which I delivered to you will shew the Idea he has of a division of the fifth Survey and his reasons for it. On examination and mature consideration nothing but the increase of expence and of officers appears against it.… Mr. Steele who represents the district and who approves of the division of the fifth survey, also approves of the Supervisors performing by way of experiment the duties of Inspector of that one of the proposed Surveys, in which he resides: namely the eastermost being the district of Salisbury.… As the fund assigned for Compensations and expences by the legislature is apparently … disposed of, agreeably to the Estimates communicated to both houses by the President,8 measures which may occasion additions to the disbursement … will require a very cautious and very particular preconsideration.”

LC, RG 58, Letters of Commissioner of Revenue, 1792–1793, National Archives.

1On September 14, 1792, Coxe wrote to William Polk: “On the receipt of this letter you will take up the particular consideration of your whole district and give me your Sentiments of any different division of the whole into surveys which may appear eligible with your reasons in detail” (LC, Letters of Commissioner of Revenue, 1792–1793, National Archives). On November 10, 1792, Coxe wrote to Polk and repeated his request (LC, Letters of Commissioner of Revenue, 1792–1793, National Archives).

3Samuel Johnston and Benjamin Hawkins were Senators from North Carolina; John Steele and William B. Grove were members of the House of Representatives from that state.

4John Daves.

5Rowan, a merchant in Fayetteville, was married to Susannah Grove, the widow of William B. Grove’s father.

6Thomas Callender was surveyor and inspector of the port of Wilmington, North Carolina.

7Thomas Overton, who had been a captain in the Fourth Continental Dragoons during the American Revolution, represented Moore County in the North Carolina Assembly.

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