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Hamilton, Alexander (1757-1804) to Edward Carrington

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00299 Author/Creator: Hamilton, Alexander (1757-1804) Place Written: New York, New York Type: Letter signed Date: 21 March 1791 Pagination: 6 p. ; 25 x 21 cm. Order a Copy PDF Download(s): Download PDF

As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton delegates duties to Carrington as the new Supervisor of the Revenue for the District of Virginia. Advises that the salary is $1000 a year and one percent of the duties on spirits distilled within the district. Instructs that President George Washington will contact him in regards to subdividing the district into surveys of inspection. Gives additional instructions on the office of supervisor and the assignment of subordinate inspectors, collectors, and officers.

Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Treasury Department

March 21st 1791


You will probably have received ere this reaches you, a Commission as Supervisor of the Revenue for the district of Virginia. The compensation annexed to that office is to consist of a Salary of One thousand dollars per Annum and one per Cent on the product of the duties on the Spirits which shall be distilled within your district, including those on stills. It is presumed however that this compensation by the true construction of the law does not commence 'till the first of July next.

The subdivision of your district into surveys of Inspection has been deferred by the President, to be done in the course of his Journey through the district; in which he expects your aid; and that he may have an opportunity of conversing with you he will write to you from Georgetown fixing a period at which you are to meet him at Richmond.

I give you this previous notice that you may consult the law (a copy of which accompanies this letter) and employ your reflections as well on what will be a convenient subdivision of the district as on the proper characters to be submitted to the consideration of the President for Inspectors.

You will observe, that the law contemplates three descriptions of Officers; a Supervisor, who is to have the chief direction within a district - Inspectors who, under him, are to manage the business within certain Surveys or subdivisions and a third class with no particular denomination, who are to be appointed by the Supervisor and to have the charge of a given number of distilleries one or more as he shall assign to them.

It has been conceived here (though nothing has been determined on) that your State will require to be subdivided into Eight or Nine Surveys, counting Kentucke [sic] as one. The allowance, which is contemplated for an Inspector is a Salary of Four hundred and fifty dollars per annum, and a Commission of One percent of the product of the duties within his Survey. This has been found an adequate inducement in this State to very respectable characters to accept the office of Inspector and it is hoped that it will prove equally so in the other States to which it is applicable.

It is proper you should be informed that with regard to imported Spirits the Surveyor of each port where there is a Surveyor is constituted Inspector; and where there is no Surveyor, but a collector, the latter is so constituted; and the ports which have neither Collector nor Surveyor are placed under the Inspection of the Surveyor of the principal port within the district: So that the authority of the Inspectors to be appointed for the interior Subdivisions of the district will be confined to internal distilleries.

In North Carolina for the sake of economy some of the interior Surveys, that is to say, those adjacent to the coasts have been put under the direction of the Inspectors of the Ports; as in the States, for the same reason, the duties of Inspector and Supervisor have in various instances been united. How far either of these ideas can be advantageously incorporated in the arrangement to be made for Virginia, you will consider.

The President for the sake of uniformity has directed that the Officers to be appointed by the Supervisors be denominated Collectors of the Revenue. It is presumed that in most cases one for a County will suffice. And it is desired that there may be no greater multiplication of Officers than is really necessary to the effectual execution of the business. The allowance to each Collector will be two percent on the sums by him collected from the duties on Spirits distilled from foreign materials, and four percent on those collected from the duties on Spirits distilled from Domestic Materials.

I am with great consideration
Your Obedt. Servant
Alexander Hamilton

Hamilton, Alexander, 1757-1804
Carrington, Edward, 1749-1810
Washington, George, 1732-1799

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