Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Bartholomew Dandridge, [9 December 1794]

From Bartholomew Dandridge

[Philadelphia, December 9, 1794]

Br. Dandridge respectfully informs the Secretary of the Treasury that the President does not object to granting Mr Bowen’s request1 if it can be done without injury to the public service.

B. Dandridge will thank the Secretary to cause a Warrant to be transmitted to him for two thousand dollars on account of The President’s compensation.2

LC, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1Jabez Bowen was commissioner for loans for Rhode Island.

“Mr Bowen’s request” concerned the distribution of the funds which Congress had provided for the relief of refugees from the Saint Domingan revolution by “An Act providing for the relief of such of the inhabitants of Santo Domingo, resident within the United States, as may be found in want of support” (6 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America [Private Statutes] (Boston, 1856). description ends 13 [February 12, 1794]). The act appropriated fifteen thousand dollars, which was to be distributed by the President among the refugees in the various states. See Edmond Charles Genet to H, July 19, 1793; George Washington to H, March 4, 1794.

Bowen and Edmund Randolph had corresponded about the relief money for the refugees since March, 1794 (Randolph to Bowen, April 30, 1794 [LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives]). Rhode Island had received one thousand dollars from the Federal Government, but on April 30, 1794, Randolph wrote to Bowen: “… The money, which I remitted to you was for the relief of those inhabitants of St. Domingo, who come within the description of the law, granting it. If the liberality of your State has already satisfied their wants, it will not be legal to reimburse your Treasury out of that money, or to spend it at all …” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives). On May 12, 1794, Bowen informed Randolph that the towns of Newport, Providence, and Bristol having found the burden of aiding the refugees too great, had petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for assistance (ALS, RG 59, Miscellanoeus Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives). On May 20, 1794, Randolph replied to Bowen that “… to render the affair free from complexity,… It is agreed that the following arrangement, which you are hereby authorized to make, will probably be satisfactory, to wit, that you may pay to the Treasurer of your State so much of the money sent by me to you, as will reimburse the advances, which have been made by the State, since the passing of the act of Congress, or shall be hereafter made” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 6, January 2–June 26, 1794, National Archives).

On May 31, 1794, Randolph informed the President that out of the sum of fifteen thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for the Santo Domingan refugees, six hundred dollars remained “to be disposed of, as the President shall choose” (ALS, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

On October 1, 1794, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., wrote to Henry Sherburne of Newport: “… The reimbursement of the balance expended beyond the funds which were remitted, may justly be expected from the French Republic, when the motives & object of the advance is considered, and you may rest assured that the claim of the State will be presented with that of the United States, for the consideration of the French Government” (ADf, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford). On February 24, 1795, Randolph sent a copy of a letter, dated February 1, 1795, which he had received from Bowen, to James Monroe, United States Minister Plenipotentiary to France, for Monroe to use in negotiating with the French government (LC, RG 59, Diplomatic and Consular Instructions of the Department of State, 1791–1801, Vol. 2, August 22, 1793–June 1, 1795, National Archives).

On April 23, 1795, Bowen again wrote to Randolph requesting additional Federal funds and stating that Rhode Island had “paid 1956 Doll 74 cts after deducting the 1800 Dollars I paid the General Treasurer by your Orders” (ALS, RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives).

The problem was finally resolved when Randolph wrote to Bowen on May 20, 1795: “I have the pleasure to inform you, that the President approves, that the remaining six hundred dollars, which belong to the St. Domingo fund shall be appropriated, as your letter of the 23d. ultimo requests …” (LC, RG 59, Domestic Letters of the Department of State, Vol. 8, December 6, 1794–October 12, 1795, National Archives). Bowen’s receipt for this sum, dated June 1, 1795, may be found in RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters, 1790–1799, National Archives.

2George Washington’s salary was twenty-five thousand dollars per year. See “Report on Estimates for the Year 1794,” December 21, 1793.

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