Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Edmund Randolph, [31 January 1794]

From Edmund Randolph

[Philadelphia, January 31, 1794]

The Secretary of State has the honor to inclose to the Secretary of the Treasury a letter from T. W. Jarvis.1 As the subject relates to the Treasury Department, it is consigned to the disposal of its head.

LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives.

1On January 20, 1794, Thomas William Jarvis wrote to Randolph asking him not to grant a register to William Ferguson, a Baltimore merchant for whom Jarvis had built a brig. Ferguson had refused to pay the sum awarded by arbiters for work Jarvis had done beyond what was specified by contract, and Jarvis had been put in debtors’ prison. Jarvis concluded his letter: “I only wish he may be made to pay the whole money, and only for the benefit of my Creditors. I hope you will never grant him a register” (copy, RG 56, Original Letters to the Collector at Baltimore, National Archives).

Registers were ordinarily granted by the collectors of customs, but Ferguson had been prevented from obtaining a register in the normal course by Section 8 of “An Act concerning the registering and recording of ships or vessels,” which required in part “That in order to the registry of any ship or vessel, which, after the last day of March next, shall be built within the United States, it shall be necessary to produce a certificate, under the hand of the principal or master carpenter, by whom, or under whose direction, the said ship or vessel shall have been built, testifying, that she was built by him, or under his direction” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 291 [December 31, 1792]).

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