George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James McHenry, 30 March 1799

From James McHenry


Dear SirPhiladelphia 30 March 1799

I received by yesterdays mail your letter of the 25th inst.

For the present and until I can enjoy a few hours leisure from the most urgent business, I must content myself with a simple acknowledgment of the kindness of intention and friendship it discovers.

Such has been the pressure of business upon the Clerks, that they have only been able to make out a copy of my instructions to General Hamilton dated the 4th of Febry ulto, which is inclosed.1 From these you will be at no loss to conceive of General Pinckney’s, which will be sent to you as soon as they can be got copied.

Troops have marched against the Insurgents, and a further detachment is to march from this City on Wednesday next. The people they are to go against are ignorant & mulish.2 I am Dr Sir most sincerely & affectionately your obt

James McHenry


1McHenry’s instructions to Alexander Hamilton are contained in his letter to Hamilton of 4 Feb., which McHenry enclosed. See 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. Hamilton was to have direct control of all the troops in the Northwest and on the Atlantic seaboard north of Virginia, much as GW had suggested to McHenry on 16 Dec. 1798.

2McHenry is referring to what has been called Fries’s Rebellion in Pennsylvania. John Fries, who had commanded militia companies in the Revolution and in the Whiskey Rebellion, led the opposition in Bucks, Northampton, and Montgomery counties to the collection of new taxes by the United States. On 12 Mar. 1799 John Adams issued a proclamation ordering the army to suppress the resisters, which was promptly accomplished.

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