From Alexander Hamilton
Treasury Department January 8th 1791
The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor respectfully to transmit to the President of the United States a Contract made by the Collector of Portsmouth in New Hampshire with Titus Salter for furnishing the Light house on New Castle Island with oil, wick, fuel & candles, and for the care & lighting of the same from the 15th day of August 1789 to the 1st day of July next, including some small repairs for the Sum of five hundred and fifty five dollars and ninety nine cents.1
The Situation of this establishment, in regard to the title to it, appears to have produced some irregularities; and a similar observation occurs in regard to the mode of signature on the part of the United States. These, however, the Secretary humbly conceives, will not on examination appear essential. He begs leave to remark that altho’ the charge of £54 lawful money per annum for keeping the Light house is not among the most reasonable of those compensations, yet the general expences of the establishment which are to be provided for by the same party, appear to be moderate: No provisional clause relative to approbation is inserted in the instrument now transmitted, but the Collector states in his letter that a separate agreement has been made, duly providing for the Submission of the contract to the pleasure of the President.2 Signed,
Secy of the Treasury
1. Titus Salter was commander of Fort William and Mary on New Castle Island in Portsmouth Harbor and was responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouse there. On 18 Nov. 1790 Joseph Whipple, collector at Portsmouth, signed an agreement with Salter to pay him $555.99 for supplies and services from 15 Aug. 1789 to 1 July 1791 (the agreement is calendared in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:157). Tobias Lear wrote to Hamilton on 31 Jan. 1791 indicating GW’s approval of the contract and adding that GW had not received Hamilton’s letter transmitting the contract until 30 Jan. 1791 (DLC:GW).
2. Whipple wrote to Hamilton on 10 Dec. 1790 that he had delayed making provision for the maintenance of the lighthouse pending the cession of the lighthouse to the United States. No cession having been made in the 1790 session of the state legislature, Whipple proceeded to contract with Salter for the maintenance of the lighthouse with the caveat that the contract would not be valid without GW’s approval (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 7:206). For the New Hampshire cession, see Josiah Bartlett to GW, 24 Feb. 1791.