George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 17 September 1792

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Departmt 17th Septr 1792.


Representations have been made by the Collector of the Customs at Edenton, and the Inspector of the Revenue for the third Survey of North Carolina, that Thomas Davis Freeman Surveyor of the Port of Plymouth and Inspector of the Revenue for the same, has been absent from that Port since February last. As it is stated in those representations, that it is not known whither that Officer has gone, and that it is not believed he will ever return, there is great probability that the public service will continue to suffer, unless the President on a knowledge of the circumstances, shall think proper to appoint some other suitable person to perform the duties of those offices. The name of Mr Jno. Armistead having been mentioned by the Collector & Inspector, with a reference to the Honorable Mr Johnston of the Senate of the United States, of which Gentleman enquiry has been made: He represents Mr Armistead as bred to Navigation and acquainted with business—as an old Inhabitant of the place, of good character & competent property. In regard to qualifications he spoke of him not only as a suitable person for the offices to be filled, but the most so of any Inhabitant of Plymouth.1 I have the honor to be &c.

Alexr Hamilton


1Thomas Benbury was the collector of Edenton and the inspector of the third survey in North Carolina (see Executive Order and GW to Hamilton, both 15 Mar. 1791). Tench Coxe had written Hamilton on 4 Sept. informing him of Freeman’s absence from Plymouth, N.C., since February and that Senator Samuel Johnston had recommended John Armistead (b. 1757) “as bred to Navigation and acquainted with Business, as an old inhabitant of the place, of good Character and competent property” (DNA: RG 58, Letters Sent by the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Revenue Office, 1792–1807).

On 24 Sept., GW wrote Hamilton: “Under your statement of the conduct of Thomas Davis Freeman Surveyor of the Port of Plymouth and Inspector of the Revenue of the same, there can be no question with respect to the propriety of superceding him in Office; and from the character given of Mr John Armistead of that place by the Collector and Inspector, and more particularly by Mr Johnston of the Senate, there can be as little doubt of his fitness to fill it. I have no objections therefore to Mr Armistead’s doing it accordingly—of which you may inform him, and that a Commission will be sent to him for this purpose as soon as circumstances will permit” (LB, DLC:GW). GW included Armistead’s nomination in a list of appointments dated 19 Nov. 1792. This list was received by the Senate on 20 Nov. and approved the following day (Executive Journal, description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America: From the commencement of the First, to the termination of the Nineteenth Congress. Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., 1828. description ends 1:125–26).

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