George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 9 June 1794

From Alexander Hamilton

Treasy Dept [Philadelphia] June 9. 1794.


I have the honor to send herewith sundry papers which relate to the Petition of William Martin & contain full information on the subject.1 Upon the whole as Mr Martin is undoubtedly an innocent sufferer, I incline to the opinion that a pardon may be adviseable which would operate to remit one half the penalty incurred.2 With perfect respect &c.

A. Hamilton


1William Martin (1733-1814) represented North Yarmouth, District of Maine, in the Massachusetts General Court, 1792-95 and 1797, and was an original trustee of Bowdoin College. Martin had been owner of the schooner Fox, which ship and cargo had been declared forfeit by the District Court of Maine in 1791 for violation of section 70 of "An Act to provide more effectually for the collection of the duties imposed by law on goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States, and on the tonnage of ships or vessels," approved 4 Aug. 1790, which stated that foreign goods subject to duty were not to be brought into the United States by vessels of under thirty tons burthen (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 . 1:145-178 at 177). Martin petitioned for a pardon of the offense and remission of the penalties, and GW referred his petition (which has not been found) to Hamilton on 16 May (JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 303). For more discussion of the case, see Hamilton to Martin, 14 March (Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 16:155-57).

2GW signed a pardon for Martin on 11 June (LB, DNA: RG 59, Copies of Presidential Pardons and Remissions). Martin, however, subsequently petitioned Congress for "relief" in this case (U.S. House Journal, Washington Administration, 7:160).

Index Entries