Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 24 May 1799

From James McHenry

War Department
24th May 1799


Letters similar to the enclosed1 have been transmitted to the Senators of each State from New Hampshire to Maryland, and to Generals Washington Pinckney and Davie2 for the States of Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia.

Messrs Watson and Lawrence3 find it difficult, if not impracticable to co-operate in the object of this letter from the distance of their places of residence from each other, and have declined acting. You will perceive that this measure is purely precautionary, and that the officers who may be appointed are not to receive any pay or emoluments until called into actual service.4

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, Your Most Obt Hb St

James McHenry

Major Genl A Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LS letterpress copy, dated May 23, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1Enclosure not found, but see McHenry to H, second letter of May 23, 1799. McHenry enclosed a list of names of persons appointed from Virginia for the cavalry and infantry in McHenry to George Washington, May 21, 1799 (LS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).

2William Richardson Davie was a colonel and commissary general in the American Revolution. After the war he practiced law in North Carolina and was a member of the state legislature from Halifax County from 1786 to 1798. He was elected governor of North Carolina in 1798 and was appointed a brigadier general in the Provisional Army on July 19, 1798 (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 292–93). On June 1, 1799, he was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to France (Executive Journal, I description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate (Washington, 1828), I. description ends , 326–27).

3James Watson and John Laurance were members of the United States Senate from New York.

4This is a reference to the appointment of officers under the authority of “An Act giving eventual authority to the President of the United States to augment the Army” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 725–27 [March 2, 1799]).

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