From Caleb Gibbs1
Boston, January 31, 1794. “I have done myself the honor to address you several times since my return to this Metropolis from the Country.… I will not intrude upon you too long but will only say, that we are told that the United States are going to build a number of vessells of war, and fortify their Ports and harbours.2 If so and any thing you think me Competent too in either case, will thank you to think of me. I keep a store in the Central part of the Town Contiguous to the Long wharf and if any vessell of war is built in this place or its vicinity I should be glad to offer my services in storing &c.… I do profess to be a Judge of what is called good timber.…”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Gibbs, who had been an aide-de-camp to George Washington during the American Revolution, was an indefatigable office seeker. See Gibbs to H, January 16, May 16, 1791, September 10, 1792, and February 16, June 24, 1793.
2. The program for the fortification of seaports and harbors and for the construction of a naval force grew out of attempts to establish peace with the Algerines. On January 2, 1794, the House of Representatives “Resolved, That a naval force, adequate to the protection of the commerce of the United States against the Algerine corsairs, ought to be provided” and “That a committee be appointed to report … the naval force necessary for the purposes aforesaid, together with an estimate of the expense and the ways and means for defraying the same” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 154). On January 7, 1794, the House passed a resolution instructing the committee appointed to consider the Algerine situation to “prepare and report to the House an estimate of the expense that will be requisite to place the principal seaports and harbors of the United States in a state of defence” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings of the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 164).