George Washington Papers

Authorization for Tobias Lear, 30 August 1790

Authorization for Tobias Lear

[New York, 30 August 1790]

Whereas it may be necessary, during my absence from the Seat of Government, to pay certain monies and accounts out of the fund of ten thousand Dollars appropriated to the discharge of Contingent Expenses of Government, by a law passed on the 26th day of March 1790;1 I therefore do authorize Tobias Lear, my Secretary, to direct such payments to be made in my name, out of said fund, as may come properly within the same, provided, that previous to such direction for payment, all accounts, demands &ca. shall be exhibited to the Secretary of the Treasury, and shall be pronounced by him to come properly and clearly within the Law making the above appropriation. And I moreover certify that three payments which have been made out of said fund previous to this time, viz. one for Seals procured for the Supreme and Circuit courts of the United States, amounting to ninety one dollars & 8/1002—one to Jeremiah Wadsworth3 for monies advanced and payed by him for the purpose of taking up and securing certain persons who had counterfeited public Securities, amounting to one thousand and sixty one dollars—and one for a seal procured for the District Court of Connecticut, amounting to Eight Dollars,4 were by my order. Given under my hand in the City of New York this 30th day of August 1790.

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DfS, CSmH.

1Section 3 of “An Act making appropriations for the support of government for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety” authorized the president “to draw from the treasury a sum not exceeding ten thousand dollars, for the purpose of defraying the contingent charges of government, to be paid out of the monies arising as aforesaid from the duties on imports and tonnage; and that he cause a regular statement and account of such expenditures to be laid before Congress at the end of the year” (1 Stat., description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 104, 105). GW presented the requisite statement to Congress in January 1791 (GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 17 Jan. 1791).

2On 14 Aug. 1790 Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Tench Coxe wrote to Lear from the Treasury Department: “Application has been made to the Secretary of the Treasury concerning the discharge of the enclosed account for the Seals of the Supreme Court and the Circuit courts of eleven of the states, with the charges of transportation. An Act of the Legislature having directed, that the payment should be made out of the fund appropriated for the contingent expences of government—I am instructed to inclose the account to you, in order that it may be submitted to the President of the United States, and that his pleasure in the case may be signified” (DLC:GW). Two days later Coxe requested Lear “to add to the endorsement on the back of the enclosed account some words which amount to a direction from the President . . . , that it should be paid, which the Secretary of the Treasury conceives to be necessary” (DLC:GW; see also Marcus and Perry, Documentary History of the Supreme Court, description begins Maeva Marcus et al., eds. The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800. 8 vols. New York, 1985-2007. description ends 4:121).

3For Wadsworth’s pursuit of counterfeiters in Connecticut and Vermont in November and December 1789 and the reimbursement of his expenses for the same, see Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 5:503–4, 6:15–16, 285.

4Lear paid Amos Doolittle’s agent Mark Leavenworth eight dollars for the seal on 31 Aug. 1790 (see GW to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, 17 Jan. 1791, Enclosure, DNA: RG 46, First Congress, 1789–91, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages).

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