Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, 29 May 1794

From George Washington

Philada. 29 May 1794.

Dr Sir,

To the best of my recollection I shewed, or turned over to your office, a letter from the Governor of this State, with enclosures,1 to which the one herewith sent of the 27th refers.2 But the parts of the former alluded to in the latter have escaped me. I therefore send it to you, that if any answer thereto, or acting upon either or both is necessary, that you will do it accordingly.

I am &c.

Geo: Washington

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1For the letter from Thomas Mifflin and its enclosures, see Bartholomew Dandridge to H, April 19, 1794, note 1. Also see H to Tench Coxe, April 19, 1794; H to Washington, April 19, 1794.

2Washington is referring to a letter of May 27 from Mifflin, which reads as follows: “In compliance with the request of Judge Addison, I have the honor to transmit to you a copy of his letter, dated the 12th. current, in explanation of the Extract communicated to you on the 18th. of April last, relative to the collection of the Excise in the western Counties. As it appears, that the information, which he enabled me to lay before you, has been used in a way that was not intended, justice requires, that the foundation of his opinions should be clearly understood” (LS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

The letter from Alexander Addison concerned the conduct of Benjamin Wells, collector of excise in Westmoreland and Fayette counties in Pennsylvania, and the conduct of the excise collectors in general. It reads in part as follows: “My last letter to you was intended merely as an answer to your circular letter.… Had I supposed that it was to claim the attention of the President, to assume the solemn form of an accusation,… I should certainly have expressed myself with greater caution, and in terms less general.… I must submit to you … a few explanatory remarks.… With respect to tresspasses committed by the Excise Officers; I alluded to seizures of Whiskey in transportation from one place to another, for want of marks and certificates, when it was notorious, that the Whiskey seized had been distilled from domestic materials in a country place; and when such Whiskey is not subjected to the regulations of marks and certificates, nor seizable in transportation: I therefore considered all such seisures as unwarranted by law, and of course tresspasses” (copy, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

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