From Alexander Hamilton
Treasury Departmt June 19th 1792.
The Secretary of the Treasury has the honor to submit to the President of the Ud States a provisional Contract entered into between the Superintendent of the Delaware Lighthouse and Abraham Hargis1 for sinking a well for the accomodation of that Light house; together with a report of the Commissioner of the Revenue on the subject, & some explanatory statements.2
The Secretary has delayed this communication under an impression that the allowance was excessive, and with a hope that something better might be done: but reputable workmen who have been consulted appear to be of opinion that the charge is not unreasonable, and no other person has been found disposed to undertake at a lower rate. More from the latter circumstance, than a conviction that the terms are not less moderate than they ought to be, the Contract is now submitted. The approbation of it may be qualified by a reservation that if all the materials mentioned in the Estimate B are not used in the work, a proportional deduction shall be made from the sum stipulated.3 This, it is represented, will be agreed to by Mr Hargis.
Secy of the Treasury.
1. Abraham Hargis apparently served as keeper of the Delaware lighthouse throughout GW’s presidency (see Hamilton to GW, 18 June 1790; JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 344–45).
2. Tench Coxe’s letter to Hamilton of 28 May enclosed a contract “for the digging and building of a well for the Use” of the Delaware lighthouse and discussed “the causes of the extraordinary expence” (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 11:449).
3. At GW’s command Tobias Lear wrote Hamilton on 22 June transmitting “the Contract made with Abraham Hargis for sinking a Well for the accomodation of the Delaware Lighthouse, which has received the President’s approbation, qualified in the manner suggested in the Secretary’s Letter of the 19th inst.” (DLC:GW). Also on 22 June, Hamilton sent Lear “a letter from Mr [William] Al[l]ibone, which contains some explanations respecting the well at Cape Henlopen; to be communicated to the President” (DLC:GW). For Allibone’s letter to Tench Coxe of 25 May, 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 11:544. Hamilton forwarded the contract to Coxe on 23 June, and Coxe communicated the president’s approval to Allibone in writing on 25 June 1792 (ibid., 545, 549).