THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A law passed in Congress July 1790 that established Philadelphia as the interim capital, and all government offices began to straggle over to Pennsylvania, from Manhattan. At this time Alexander Hamilton, as treasury secretary, was chieftain of the biggest government department.
William Simmons was an accountant in the War Department and clerk in the Treasury Department Auditors Office. As such, he would have been in intimate contact with Alexander Hamilton, discussing pay, finance, and accounting & performing duties such as payroll of the military, dispensing checks for which the government was obliged (ie for the construction of a military frigate), settling compensations, pensions, salaries, accounts etc. As a small example, in April of 1794, Henry Knox wrote Simmons requesting an estimate of monthly expenses so that officers could receive ‘subsistance on the first day of the month rather than the last day.’ Mr. Simmons was the chief accountant through the war of 1812.
Wilmington, Delaware, 20 Oct 1797
Wm Simmons, Esq.
Enclosed is X's draft on James McHenry Esq. at ten days eight (?) * Five hundred dollars in favor of X which I beg you to accept, and return to me by post ***
Your obed(ient) Ser(vant)
at 10:45 AM