From James McHenry
27th June. 1799
I enclose a copy of a Letter to me, from John King,1 the Contractor for District No. 2 including the Counties of Essex, and Morris, in the State of New Jersey, relative to an order issued by you, on the 15th. instant, directing the Contractors, to issue fresh meat to the military. five days in each week; together with a Copy of my answer,2 and an extract from the particular contract with Mr. King.3
You will perceive, that I consider the alternative, or kind of ration permitted by Law, to form the ration for the troops, to be at the discretion, and choice of the Superior or Commanding Officer only, who may issue his orders accordingly, and this for very substantial reasons, as I conceive. A meaning can certainly, niether be given to the Law, nor the Contracts, which will subject the soldiers, to be fed with the most unwholsome provisions, of the kind permitted, in the different seasons.
I am Sir with great respect your obedt servant
Major General Alexander Hamilton
LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. King to McHenry, June 22, 1799 (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
2. McHenry to King, June 26, 1799 (LS, letterpress copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
3. “Extract from the Contract, with John King … dated the 6th day of April 1799” (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).