Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from William North, 23 December 1799

From William North

New York 23d decr 1799


I had the honor this moment, to receive yours of the 21 inst. & have ordered the field ps &c to be sent to Lt Col. Comdt Smith.1 The arrangements with respect to the approaching solemnity, as far as relates to the Citizens of this place, are to take place on the last day of the present Year. The Cincinnati have sketched out the plan,2 which is to be in the Stile of the pageantry whi⟨ch⟩ took place on the adoption of the constitution, with sundry striking, & appropriate additions, as will be seen by the enclosed. I shall, agreeably to your instructions, order the Troops on the Islands to hold themselves in readiness, but as the artill[er]y of the City are to do duty on the day in the City, & as Genl Stevens informs me, the troops on the Islands are aukwd & totally uninformed, I submit whether it will not be better to let them remain at their posts.

Gov~ Morris has accepted the Office of orator to which the Cincinti appointed him.3

If you should think proper to let the artillery remain at their posts on the Islands I shall rece your orders before the day appointed arrives. The post hour is come, I ha⟨ve⟩ to beg you to excuse the appearance of this letter, & to believe that I am

With the greatest respect   Sir, Your Obt Ser

W North
Adj Gen

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1William S. Smith, commanding officer of the Twelfth Infantry Regiment.

2The only record of “arrangements” made by the New York State Society of the Cincinnati which has been found states: “A Special Meeting was convened in consequence of the intelligence of the death of General Washington; it was resolved, that the members of this Society will wear full mourning as for a Father, for six months, during which time they will also wear the badge of the Society covered with black crape. A committee was appointed to act in conjunction with committees from the Corporation of the City of New York, and other bodies, to agree upon the best manner of paying suitable honors to the memory of the illustrious deceased” (The Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati …; Together With Some of the Proceedings of the General Society, and of the New-York State Society … [New York, 1851], 58–59).

On December 26, 1799, the following report was published in the New-York Gazette and General Advertiser: “At a meeting of the Committees from the Corporation of the city; and from several Societies, held at the City-Hall, on Wednesday evening December 25th, 1799, to make the necessary arrangements for paying suitable honors to the memory of the late General Washington—The Mayor was appointed to take the chair.

Resolved, That the Funeral Procession take place on Tuesday next, the 31st instant.

Resolved, That a Sub-Committee, consisting of five members be appointed to have full power to prepare a plan, and carry the same into full execution—Brigadier Gen. [James M.] Hughes, Gen. [Ebenezer] Stevens, Col. [Jacob] Morton, Maj. [James] Fairlie, and Maj. [John] Stagg [Jr.], were accordingly appointed. R. VARICK, Chairman.” On December 29, 1799, this committee announced the “REGULATIONS, relative to the PROCESSION for rendering Funeral honors to the Deceased General WASHINGTON, as agreed to by the Committee of Arrangement” (New-York Gazette and General Advertiser, December 30, 1799). The order of the funeral march, which included “Major Gen. Hamilton and Suite,” was announced by the committee on December 29 and published in the New-York Gazette and General Advertiser, December 31, 1799.

3An oration, upon the death of General Washington, by Gouverneur Morris. Delivered at the request of the corporation of the city of New-York, on the 31st day of December, 1799. And published by their request … (New-York: Printed by John Furman, 1800).

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