George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 18 February 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

[Philadelphia] February 18th 1792.

The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to communicate for the information of the President a letter which he has just received from the Supervisor of North Carolina.1 The complexion of things there tho’ not pleasing is rather better than worse.


For the background to this letter, which probably involved difficulties in collecting the excise tax on distilled spirits, see GW to David Humphreys, 20 July 1791, n.1, and Alexander Hamilton to GW, 13 Feb. 1792.

1The enclosed letter from William Polk, supervisor of the revenue for North Carolina, has not been found. Hamilton wrote Tobias Lear on 17 Feb. concerning federal excise appointments in North Carolina: “If I understood the President aright, in a conversation some days since, it was his pleasure that a Mr William Alexander of Rowan County in the State of North Carolina should be nominated as Inspector in place of Mr Dowel who declined & whose commission I delivered to the President” (DLC:GW). Hamilton informed Lear on 24 Feb.: “The President is right. The person intended is Joseph McDowell the younger; and a more precise designation would be by adding, ‘of Pleasant Garden.’ But I imagine it will be well to defer the matter ’till the general nomination of the Officers of Inspection is made to the Senate, & to include this case” (DLC:GW). For the appointment of Joseph McDowell, Sr., see Lear to GW, 29 May 1791, n.3. For the appointment of Joseph McDowell, Jr., see GW to the U.S. Senate, 6 Mar. 1792 (third letter).

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