Call for a Meeting1
[New York, June 4, 1798]
The officers of the late army and navy of the United States are requested to meet at Gautier’s,2 on Tuesday evening, 7 o’clock, to consult on the subject of measures for the immediate security of our port and city.3
[New York] Argus. Greenleaf’s New Daily Advertiser, June 4, 1798.
1. For background to this document, see the introductory note to H to James McHenry, June 1, 1798.
2. The report of this meeting states that it was held on June 5, that sixty officers were present, and that a seven-man committee, including H, was appointed “to devise and pursue in concert with our fellow-citizens at large, such measures as may be judged expedient for the security of the port and city of New York, being in conformity and in aid of the views of the government …” ([New York] Argus. Greenleafs New Daily Advertiser, June 6, 1798). On the following day, the officers’ committee met with a committee from the Chamber of Commerce and “recommend [ed], that the citizens of each ward assemble therein on Friday next … and appoint three persons in each Ward, as a Committee to meet the Committees above-mentioned, in order to devise and adopt such measures as they may judge expedient and necessary in aid of those adopted by the Government, for the immediate defence of the … Port and City … and that the said several Committees convene together on Friday Evening next, at 7 o’clock, at the City-Hall …” ([New York] Argus. Greenleafs New Daily Advertiser, June 7, 1798). On June 8, following the elections in the wards ([New York] Argus. Greenleafs New Daily Advertiser, June 9, 11, 1798), the “Committees from the different Wards, met the Committee from the Chamber of Commerce and the Officers of the late army and navy of the United States at the City-Hall.… The utmost harmony prevailed in the meeting. The necessity of some measures of immediate and effectual defence of the port and city was the universal sentiment, and for this purpose, they appointed a Military committee, consisting of Cols. Hamilton, [Aaron] Burr and [Ebenezer] Stevens, to provide cannon, ammunition, etc …” ([New York] Argus. Greenleaf’s New Daily Advertiser, June 11, 1798).
3. Louis Gautier was the proprietor of an assembly room at 68 William Street (David Longworth, Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory, for the Twenty-second Year of American Independence … [New York, 1797], 186).
4. Matthew Clarkson, a resident of New York City, served as chairman of each of the three meetings mentioned in note 2. At the conclusion of the American Revolution he held the rank of major, and in 1798 he was a major general of the New York State militia. Clarkson had served as United States marshal of the District of New York in 1791 and 1792, and in February, 1795, he had been appointed commissioner of loans for New York. See H to George Washington, January 14, 1795. Clarkson had been a member of the New York Assembly in 1789 and 1790 and of the state Senate in 1794 and 1795. Like Ebenezer Stevens, in 1794 he had been named by the New York legislature to the committee in charge of New York City’s fortifications. On May 21, 1796, Washington nominated Clarkson as the United States commissioner under Article 21 of the treaty between Spain and the United States signed at San Lorenzo el Real on October 27, 1795, and the Senate agreed to the appointment in May 24, 1796 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 210–11).