George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 11 April 1793

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Departmt 11th April 1793.


I have the honor to enclose a communication of the 9th instant from the Commissioner of the Revenue, this morning received, transmitting a Contract with Abeshai Woodward as Superintendant of the workmen to be employed in completing the Lighthouse at Bald-Head.1

From what is said by the Commissioner of the Revenue, & information through other channels, I am of opinion, that a person in this character is necessary to be procured and sent, and the experiment has shewn that none on better terms has been obtainable. It is therefore submitted as appearing to be expedient to authorize the Contract.2 with perfect respect & the truest attachment I have the honor to be &ca

A. Hamilton


1The letter from Tench Coxe to Hamilton of 9 April, regarding construction of a lighthouse at Bald Head Island in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina, has not been identified. However, on 22 Mar., Coxe had informed Hamilton that he would have a contract ready “in a few days for the purpose of submission to the President,” drawn up by Jedidiah Huntington, the superintendent of lighthouses in Connecticut and the collector of customs at New London in that state (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 14:230). On 27 Mar., GW requested that the superintendent of construction of this lighthouse be paid no more than “4 dolls, per day” (JPP, description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends 107). However, Huntington’s contract of 30 Mar. with Abishai Woodward, a carpenter from New London, stipulated a payment of “4⅔ dolls. per day” (ibid., 109).

2On 18 April, Tobias Lear wrote Hamilton that he had “the honor to return . . . the Contract made with Abijah Woodward to superintend the building of the Light-House on Bald Head, which is approved of by the President” (DLC: Hamilton Papers). At the bottom of the letter-book copy of this contract, a clerk wrote: “The Allowance by the foregoing agreement, to Mr Abishai Woodward seems high—but as none have offered to execute the business so low, and a Superintendent of the building is necessary The Contract is Approved by Go. Washington” (DNA: RG 26, Lighthouse Deeds and Contracts, 1790–1812).

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