Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Caleb Swan, 5 June 1800

From Caleb Swan

Philadelphia June 5, 1800


I informed you in a letter dated the 21st ultimo that I expected to be able to report to you on the 31st. that all my part of the pending business would be completed and it was completed on that day, with the exception of the 10th Regt. whose paymaster1 was detained and did not Reach this place until the 3d instant. The rolls of that Regiment are now under examination and the paymaster will be able to meet his Regiment at Little York with the full amount of all the arrearages about the 10th of this month.

The following balances of Recruiting money remain in the hands of the several regimental Paymasters, to be accounted for by them. It will probably enable them to meet all objects of incidental expenditure and leave a surplus.

6th Regiment Lt Carleton Walker P m 2380.
7th " Lt Calvin Morgan " 3.087.
8th " Lt Lemuel Bent " 2.380
9th " Lt Ninian Pinckney " 1.953.
10th " Lt Samuel R. Franklin " 236.
11th " Lt John G. MacWhorter " 784
12th " Lt James Smith " 595
13th " Lt Trueman Moseley " 3.288.
14th " Lt Robert Duncan " 2.163.
15th " Lt William Swan " 5.173.
16th " Lt Samuel Parker (none)       
Dollars 22.039.

In the present unsettled state of things I believe it will be best for me to address myself to you only, on the subject, of Continuing Captain Vance2 as deputy on the frontiers. The deputy paymasters, as a matter of course fall with the 12 Regiments, but the law which authorises their appointment expressly says they are to account to me for the monies advanced to them.3 This would require some considerable time, and is a business of importance to the public. By the regulations between the treasury and war departments, I am also charged with the settlement of all the recruiting accounts. The disbursements for this service have been large, and there is a necessity that the accounts should be settled, as early as possible, on account of the great number of officers concerned in it.

I take the liberty to suggest that you will be pleased to consider the matter, and should it be proper, that you will before your authority as commander in chief ceases4 (a period I very much regret) make an order on the subject founded on the 15th section of the act of the 3d March 1799. that will enable me to discharge the several duties assigned to me here, and in the mean time authorise the Continuance of Capt Vance as deputy on the frontiers.

Mr. McHenry has left it in charge with his successor5 to direct that I have my cash account settled up in the accountants office.6 The comparative state of my debits and credits on the books of the accountant is alarming. I have made it a point to write to the accountant once a year for some years past urging an examination and settlement of my accounts. But it appeard in february 1798. that I had not a credit for upwards of 400.000 dollars—for a great part of this enormous sum my vouchers had been duly and regularly deposited in his office for six years.

Rotation in office—accidents by fire water or vermin to these vouchers, seriously demands an attention to them. They are a continual source of anxiety to my mind, and my reputation as well as interest require that they be speedily taken up. I have reason to beleive that the difference now between my debits & credits, exceeds a million.7

I have the honor to be   with the greatest respect   Sir   Your most obedt Humble Servt.

C. Swan Pmg

General Alexander Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Ninian Pinkney.

2H had ordered James Wilkinson to retain Vance as deputy paymaster. See H to Wilkinson, May 20, 1800.

3See Section 15 of “An Act for the better organizing of the Troops of the United States; and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 753 [March 3, 1799]).

5See McHenry to H, first letter of May 20, 1800, note 16.

6Correspondence on the settlement of Swan’s accounts as paymaster general may be found in William Simmons to Swan, July 11, 23, two letters of July 30, August 25, September 9, October 21, November 5, 6, two letters of November 15, November 26, December 3, 8, 12, 1800, January 12, 15, February 2, 11, 20, two letters of February 26, February 28, March 6, 10, 17, April 1, 22, 24, 25, 1801; Peter Hagner to Swan, June 27, 1800 (LC, RG 217, Records of the General Accounting Office, Letter Books, Accountant’s Office, Vol. G, February 28, 1800–June 11, 1801, National Archives). Hagner was principal clerk in Simmons’s office.

In his letter of April 25, 1801, Simmons wrote to Swan: “… your accounts as Pay Master General are now completed to the first of the present year and a balance is found due the United States of Doll. 23071.72. differing from your statement three thousand three hundred & eleven dollars 8/100.…”

7On April 1, 1801, Simmons wrote to Swan: “your abstract with the vouchers for receipts & expenditures dated 12 October 1799 have been examined and such further sums added as have since been placed either to the debit or credit of your account … up to the 31 December 1800 inc: The balance which stands to your debit on that day … is 1,076,789 50/100 Dolls:, differing from your statement nine hundred & ninety nine thousand two hundred and thirty seven dollars & eighty one cents …” (LC, RG 217, Records of the General Accounting Office, Letter Books, Accountant’s Office, Vol. G, February 28, 1800–June 11, 1801, National Archives).

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