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Hamilton Seeks Information from Pennsylvania Loan Officer for Report to Senate
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With this circular letter, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton requests financial information to respond to an order from the U.S. Senate. This copy went to Commissioner of Loans for Pennsylvania Thomas Smith. Hamilton submitted the report titled “List of Civil Officers of the United States, Except Judges, with Their Emoluments, for the Year Ending October 1, 1792” to the Senate on February 27, 1793.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Manuscript Letter Signed, to Thomas Smith, September 10, 1792, [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. 1 p., 7¾ x 9⅛ in.

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Complete Transcript

                                                            Treasury Department

                                                            September 10th 1792.



            Agreeably to an order of the Senate of the United States, dated the 7th of May last, of which a copy is enclosed, I have to request that you will furnish me immediately after the 1st of October next with Statements of your Salary and emoluments and of your Official disbursements and expenditures for the period mentioned in the said order.

                                                                        With consideration,

                                                                        I am, Sir, / Your Obed Servant.

A Hamilton


Historical Background
On May 7, 1792, the U.S. Senate ordered that the Secretary of the Treasury produce a report providing “the salaries, fees, and emoluments, for one year, ending the first day of October next, to be stated quarterly, of every person holding any civil office or employment under the United States (except the judges,) together with the actual disbursements and expenses in the discharge of their respective offices and employments for the same period; and that he do report the name of every person who shall neglect or refuse to give satisfactory information.”[1]

On February 27, 1793, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton submitted his report to the Senate. He began the report with the president and vice president, continued with employees of the Department of State, the Treasury Department, and the War Department, and ended with the Keepers of Lighthouses. Offices of the Commissioners of Loans were included under heading No. XIII. Hamilton included the original letters transmitting the information to him and the list of names of those from whom no information was received.

Per the Senate’s instructions, the list excluded judges, but Hamilton also excluded members of Congress. Thomas Smith responded on November 1, 1792, and reported a salary of $1,709.91 and a cost for clerks of $2,275.51.

Although it did not include the names of individual clerks, Hamilton’s report is a predecessor to the Register of All Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, which the Secretary of State compiled and printed every other year in compliance with an order of Congress, beginning in 1816.

Thomas Smith (d. 1793) was appointed Continental loan officer for Pennsylvania in December 1776. He ran for the office of Pennsylvania state treasurer in 1789 but was defeated. In August 1790, President George Washington appointed Smith as Commissioner of Loans for Pennsylvania under the federal government. Smith probably died of yellow fever during the 1793 epidemic in Philadelphia. He is often confused with Thomas Smith (1745-1809) of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who served as George Washington’s attorney in handling his western lands.

Condition: Faint scattered soiling; expected folds.

[1] Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 2 Cong., 1 sess. (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1820), 441.