Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Benjamin Lincoln, 5 December 1793

To Benjamin Lincoln

Treasury Department
December 5th, 1793.


I have found it necessary in order to provide for the punctual payment of the allowances to fishing vessels which will become due on the 31st inst1 to authorise the Collectors of the several districts in Massachusetts to draw on you, when the funds in their hands shall be inadequate to discharge the demands uppon them.

The Collectors who may have occasion to resort to this resourse have been instructed to transmit there signatures to you, and to furnish weekly returns therein acurately describing the drafts which they may issue; which are to be accordance to the form here to annexed.

As a check upon the Collectors I request you to furnish me weekly with a schedule of Bills, which shall be presented for payment, and none which shall not be presented prior to the first day of March next are to be paid, untill they shall have been previously notified to me, and the payment specially authorised.

To enable you to face these payments in case the funds accrueing to your office should prove inadequate, you may draw upon the office of Discount & Deposit in Boston for a sum not exceeding Forty thousand Dollars: a credit to that amount having been opened whith the said office in your favor, to be replaced by you out of the Duties on Imports and Tonnage as they shall accrue in your office.

It will be necessary to an orderly payment of the accounts at the Treasury, that you keep a seperate account of the transaction with the officer of Discount and Deposit.

I am sir, with great consideration   Your obedient servant

A Hamilton.

LC, RG 56, Letters to Collectors at Small Ports, “Set G,” National Archives; copy, RG 56, Letters to the Collector at Boston, National Archives.

1Section 1 of “An Act concerning certain Fisheries of the United States, and for the regulation and government of the Fishermen employed therein” provided that there should be “paid on the last day of December annually, to the owner of every vessel or his agent, by the collector of the district where such vessel may belong, that shall be qualified agreeably to law, for carrying on the bank and other cod fisheries, and that shall actually have been employed therein at sea for the term of four months at the least, of the fishing season, next preceding which season is accounted to be from the last day of February to the last day in November in every year, for each and every ton of such vessel’s burthen according to her admeasurement as licensed or enrolled, if of twenty tons and not exceeding thirty tons, one and an half dollars, and if above thirty tons two and an half dollars, of which allowance aforesaid three eighth parts shall accrue and belong to the owner of such fishing vessel, and the other five eighths thereof shall be divided by him, his agent or lawful representative, to and among the several fishermen who shall have been employed in such vessel during the season aforesaid, or a part thereof, as the case may be, in such proportions as the fish they shall respectively have taken may bear to the whole quantity of fish taken on board such vessel during such season: Provided, That the allowance aforesaid on any one vessel, for one season, shall not exceed one hundred and seventy dollars” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 229–32 [February 16, 1792]).

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