Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to William S. Smith, 13 November 1799

To William S. Smith

New York, November 13, 1799. In reply to Smith’s letter of November 11, 1799, states: “There is no provision in the law for Chaplains,1 and I can not therefore comply with your wishes. I am nevertheless deeply impressed with the importance of divine service among the troops, and have heretofore made it a subject of communication with the S of War.…”2

Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Section 3 of “An Act to augment the Army of the United States, and for other purposes” did in fact provide for four chaplains (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 604 [July 16, 1798]). There was, however, no provision made for a chaplain for each brigade.

2On November 8, 1799, in a letter listed in the appendix to this volume, H wrote to James McHenry: “I submit the propriety of measures being taken by the Executive at the next session of Congress to procure a law providing a Chaplain for each brigade.”

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