Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Bartholomew Dandridge, [20 March 1794]

From Bartholomew Dandridge1

[Philadelphia, March 20, 1794]

By the President’s order Bw. Dandridge has the honor to transmit to the Secy. of the Treasury the enclosed letter just received by the President from the Govr. of North Carolina2—together with the papers therein mentioned—and to inform the Secretary that the President requests he will report to him in regard to the matter contained in the said letter & enclosures.

20 March 1794.

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Dandridge was Martha Washington’s nephew. He had served as one of Washington’s secretaries since 1791, and after the departure of the President’s private secretary, Tobias Lear, in the summer of 1793, he had assumed many of Lear’s duties.

2This is a reference to a letter which Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight of North Carolina wrote to George Washington on February 25, 1794, concerning the dispute between William Skinner, commissioner of loans for North Carolina, and the officials of that state. For this dispute, see the two letters which Skinner wrote to H on July 22, 1791; Skinner to H, August 11, 29, October 15, 1791; H to Skinner, August 12, September 8, 1791; Edmund Randolph to H, November 9, 1791.

Spaight’s letter to Washington reads as follows:

“In the Year 1791 Francis Child the comptroller of the state, by order of the Governor and council lodged in the hands of William Skinner esquire commissioner of loans for the state of No Carolina, certificates to the amount of 409,570 Dolls 17/100 the property of the state in order to be funded, agreable to an act of Congress making provision for the debts of the United States. In the same year and under the same act of congress certificates to the amt. of 22,415. dolls. 10/100 were lodged in the hands of the said Commissioner by a certain Duncan McAusland and by him transferred to the State of North Carolina. The Commissioner of loans has uniformly refused to allow the said certificates in the whole amounting to 413,985 dolls. 27/100, to be funded, agreable to the aforesaid act. The General Assembly being of opinion that in this transaction the State has not received that ample justice which she was entitled to under the act of Congress, have requested me to state the facts to you, and to require that justice be done in the premises.

“The legislature having been informed at their last Session, that the Commissioner of loans had agreable to instructions from the Treasury department of the United States, written his name or some other word on the face or back of the certificates lodged in his hands by this state, which might tend to deface them, directed John Craven esquire comptroller, to call on Mr Skinner and examine them, and if he found them defaced or acted on in any manner by the said commissioner of loans, as might directly or ultimately affect the interest or convey an insult upon the right or dignity of the State to report the same to me as early as possible. Agreable to the directions of the legislature the comptroller has waited on the commissioner of loans and requested permission to examine those certificates which was possitively refused him by that officer. I think it my duty to remonstrate to you against the proceedings of the Commissioner of loans, in the present case for certainly the state has a right to be informed whether the certificates tendered him by the Comptroller had been defaced or remained in the same situation as they were when lodged in his hands. I have further to request that you will be pleased to cause an enquiry to be made into the conduct of the treasury department respecting the certificates so that it may be fully ascertained, whether or not they have been defaced or acted upon in any manner that may tend to the injury of this State and if it shall appear to have been the case, that you will cause such reparation to be made as will be consistent with justice.

“Of the interest which has acrued on the Balance of the 2,400,000 Dollars assumed by the State of North Carolina, but not subscribed under the act of Congress making provision for the debts of the United States, no part has ever been received by this State. The General Assembly have therefore requested that I should demand payment of the amount of the interest which has acrued to the State upon the said balance.

“I enclose you a copy of the resolutions of the general Assembly on this subject, and a copy of the comptrollers letters to me informing me of the commissioner of loans having refused him permission to examine the certificates.” (LC, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Raleigh.)

For H’s reply to this letter, see “Report to the Governor of North Carolina,” July 31, 1794.

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