George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 20 January 1794

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasury Dept. Jan: 20. 1794.


I have the honor to send herewith a letter to me from the Commissioner of the Revenues of the 17 of August 1793; relating to the then state of execution of the laws laying a duty on spirits distilled within the United States, and on Stills, which was directed with the ultimate view of laying before you the information which it contains.1

You will perceive that upon the whole the execution of the law has been progressive, though the obstacles to it are yet far from being entirely vanquished, and that supplementary provisions by the Legislature are necessary.2

I beg leave to submit to your consideration the expediency of calling the attention of the Legislature to the subject by a message.3 With perfect respect and the truest attachment, I have the honor to be &c.

Alexr Hamilton


1The letter from Tench Coxe to Hamilton of 17 Aug. 1793 has not been identified. For the relevant laws, see “An Act repealing, after the last day of June next, the duties heretofore laid upon Distilled Spirits imported from abroad, and laying others in their stead; and also upon Spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same,” 3 March 1791, and “An Act concerning the Duties on Spirits distilled within the United States, 8 May 1792 (Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends . 1:199–214, 267–71).

2On the need for further legislative action on the collection of the federal excise tax on whiskey, including the extension of the tax to the Northwest and Southwest territories and the creation of a separate revenue district for the state of Kentucky, which was currently included in the Virginia District, see Coxe to Hamilton, 11 Dec. 1792 (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 13:305–14).

Index Entries