George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 12 February 1799

From James McHenry

Philadelphia 12 Febry 1799.

Dear Sir

McAlpin called upon me this morning to inform me finally, that after the most diligent inquiry for gold thread, both here and at New York, he has not been able to procure a sufficient quantity to complete the embroidery of the coat; and that of course it will be necessary to suspend making it up until after the arrival of the Spring ships in which the article is expected.

As yet the President’s cockade remains without the Eagle. Mine is also without one. I shall give you early notice when the alteration takes place; and shall send you to morrow four eagles of the pattern that has been adopted, which I find corresponds with your ideas. I contemplate the black ribbon in the old form for our cockade with the eagle fixed in the centre to the loop and cockade by small holes in its wings.1

I have dispatched to Major Gen. Hamilton his instructions, and hope to be able to complete those for Gen. Pinckney to-day.2 I shall send you copies. I am Dr Sir always & affectionately yours

James McHenry


1GW asked McHenry about the president’s and McHenry’s cockades in his letter of 27 Jan. and thanked him for the eagles on 25 Feb. (see note 2 of McHenry to GW, 1 February).

2McHenry dated his instructions to Alexander Hamilton 4 Feb., but he only sent them on 8 Feb. (Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 22:455–65, 473). A copy of the instructions to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, dated 11 Feb., is in DLC: McHenry Papers. See also the references to Hamilton’s instructions in Hamilton to GW, 15 Feb., and note 1 of that document. On 30 Mar. McHenry sent GW a copy of his instructions to Hamilton.

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