Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Bennett Wheeler, 14 June 1790

To Bennett Wheeler

Treasury Department, June 14, 1790. “I have received … your letter of the 5th Instant.…1 The resolution of your Association, relative to smuggling will be very useful, and is highly laudable.…2 I return my thanks for the Pamphlet you enclosed, & reciprocate very sincerely your Congratulations on the Accession of your State to the General Government.”3

LS, Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence.

1Letter not found.

2Wheeler was a charter member and the first secretary of the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers, which had been founded in 1789. On June 4, 1790, the association adopted the following resolution: “This Association believing it to be the duty of every citizen, in a republican government, to observe and support the laws thereof, by which alone freemen ought to be governed, and highly approving of the commercial regulations of the Legislature of the Union, by which commerce is put on a just and equal footing throughout the United States, and by which, if duly observed, the manufactures of our country will be greatly encouraged and promoted; and anxious to give a permanent proof of their attachment to the general government, Do Resolve, that we will collectively and individually do all in our power to support the said laws, particularly by discountenancing and discouraging smuggling, which we consider injurious to the fair trader, and prejudicial to the morals of those concerned in it: and as we deem it to be disreputable and dishonest to defraud the public revenue as it is to defraud an individual, and consider it to be the duty of every good citizen to give information of any person they shall know to be guilty of smuggling, We Do Further Resolve, that if any person shall hereafter be guilty thereof, to the knowledge of any of us, we will give information thereof to the proper officers of government; and that one half of the reward any of us shall be entitled to, in consequence of such information, shall be the property of the Association, and be paid into the treasury accordingly” (Mechanics’ Festival, An Account of the Seventy-first Anniversary of the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers … Together with a Sketch of the Early History of the Association … and Brief Notices of Deceased Officers. Prepared by Edwin M. Stone [Providence, 1860], 36–37).

3Rhode Island ratified the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

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