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    • Hamilton, Alexander
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Take my ideas and weigh them of a proper course of conduct for our administration in the present juncture. You have called Congress—tis well. When the Senate meets (which I should be glad to see anticipated) send a Commission extraordinary to France. Let it consist of Jefferson or Madison Pinckney & a third very safe man, say Cabot . Proclaim a Religious solemnity to take place at the Meeting...
Situated as I am at this moment I am obliged to confine myself to very general hints respecting the paper of the 15 of April. As to the first head—I think it will be adviseable that the Speech should be confined to the foreign Affairs of the Country giving the primary & prominent place to those with France. This will make the main business the more striking. Domestic matters may follow in...
I now send you a cursory answer to certain questions. They are imperfect & probably will come too late. But court avocations and distress in the family have prevented any thing better. General Schuyler has been critically ill though now as I hope out of danger. My Brother in law Mr. Rensselaer has just lost a favourite Daughter one & the Eldest of two Children without a prospect of more. The...
To The first.   It is difficult to fix the precise point at which indignity or affront from one state to another ceases to be negotiable without absolute humiliation and disgrace. It is for the most part a relative question—relative to the comparitive strength of the parties—the motives for peace or war—the antecedent relations—the circumstances of the moment as well with regard to other...
Inclosed are some papers, which were sent me shortly after my return to this City from Philadelphia but which from Mrs. Hamilton’s situation hurry of business &c have been forgotten. If there is any thing to be said to my correspondent you will enable me as speedily as possible to say it. I send you the 100 Dollars you sent me and a further sum to reimburse some money paid for me by Lewis ....
It may serve to prepare the way for a direct answer to the questions stated by the President to make some preliminary observations. 1   It is an undoubted fact that there is a very general and strong aversion to War in the minds of the people of this Country—and a considerable part of the community (though even this part has been greatly alienated from France by her late violent conduct...
Yours of yesterday with its inclosure are come to hand & will be attended to as speedily as possible. I take the liberty to trouble you with the inclosed to receive the amount (which though the accumulated interest on all my Stock from the beginning of the funding system will be short of 200 Dollars). When received, pay yourself one hundred, our friend Lewis seven, & deliver the rest to...
I regret that my occupations have not permitted me to give your report more than a cursory reading, before my being obliged to leave the city for Albany. I have put it under a cover addressed to you. If it cannot conveniently wait my return, which will be in a fortnight, it will be sent you upon a line directed to Mr. “James Inglis at Col Hamilton’s No. 26 Broad Way N York.” desiring him to...
I have received your letter of the instant. Not having seen the law which provides the Naval Armament , I cannot tell whether it gives any new power to the President that is any power whatever with regard to the employment of the Ships. If not, and he is left on the foot of the Constitution, as I understand to be the case, I am not ready to say that he has any other power than merely to employ...
Our citizens are extremely anxious that some further measures for their defence should take place. Do me the favour to inform me confidentially what means are actually in the disposition of your department for this purpose when & how they will be applied. Yrs truly A Capt Hacker formerly of our Navy is desirous of being employed. One or two good men have recommended him to me. It seems however...
We have carefully attended to the subjects presented to our consideration, by your note of yesterday and now offer to you the result of our reflections. The idea of a succession of batteries from the Hook, to the City, very naturally occurs in contemplating the defence of this port, and doubtless has advantages. It would present dangers in the approach which may be expected to have...
Your letter of the 20th. instant, inclosing one from General Washington came to hand this day. The object you suggest in it is one, which no doubt deserves a primary attention; and it will be paid to it. But it will be useful, that I should shortly confer with you fully on a variety of subjects, and after receiving an official communication of my appointment, I shall without delay, repair to...
I last Evening had the honor of receiving your letter of the 25 instant, announcing to me my appointment as Inspector and Major General. At a crisis like the present I esteem it my duty to obey the call of the Government. Feeling too, as I ought, the value of the high confidence which is reposed in me, I beg you to convey to The President my most cordial acknowlegements and the assurance of my...
I send you a number of applications for Military appointments with br[i]ef notes of my opinion. Allow me to remind you in writing of my nephew Philip Church whom I warmly recommend for a Captaincy in the Infantry. He is the eldest son of his father, has had a good education is a young man of sense of genuine spirit and worth—of considerable expectation in point of fortune. I shall esteem his...
Scruples of delicacy have occasionned me to hesitate about offering to you certain ideas which it appears to me on mature reflection cannot be witheld consistently either with friendship to you or regard to the service. They are these— I observe you plunged in a vast mass of details. I know from experience that it is impossible for any man whatever be his talents or diligence to wade through...
Inclosed are sundry recommendations for appointments with notes of mine concerning them. I do not recollect whether I have heretofore mentioned to you Mr William Armstrong. This gentleman was a British Officer and served in the British army in America last War. But for a number of years he has been a citizen of this State—having also married in America and being the father of a Family. He...
An absence from the City, upon some urgent avocations, prevented my receiving ’till yesterday your letters of the 10th & 11th instant. I observe the suggestion which you have made to the President, towards calling General Knox and myself into immediate service. If he shall approve, I stand ready to execute in the best manner I shall be able, whatever business, may be confided to me. But I must...
I write you herewith an official letter. Your private one of the 13th is before me. I regret that you have been unwell and rejoice that you are better. The affair of General Knox perplexes me. I wish him to serve. I am pained to occasion to him pain, for I have truly a warm side for him, and a high value for his merits. But my judgment tells me, and all I consult confirm it, that I cannot...
You will herewith receive the list mentioned in mine of yesterday. The names marked with an * are those which engage my preference as last ascertained. The list comprises the names you sent me and some others which have come directly to me. Besides these there are a number of applications with my Remarks upon them which were put up in a packet and either transmitted to you or delivered to Mr....
Subalterns 1 Nathaniel Paulding West Chester would prefer Artillery Mr . Hale refers to me speaks hyhly A probably a good Lieutantnt AH 2 John Treat Irving would prefer Artillery B Mr. Hale 3 Timothy Shalor Albany County
Subalterns 1 Timothy Mountford Philadelphia 5 Silvester G Whipple Livemore Education & good family Hampton 23 years Gordon collegiate education & has read law eleven mon respectable Whipple Father —[sprightly & active] 6 William S Thorne Londonderry
Subalterns 5 Marmaduke Wait Windsor ☞ 25 year Payne Young Gentleman heretofore recomd by Morris & himself pretty good 2 Morris —education common morals good active enterprising Cadet 9 John H Brownson Father Brigadier General Lyon Nothing
Subalterns 6 Robert Hunt son of A Hunt Trenton Lieutenant   Qr Cavalry } Stockton
LIEUTENANTS & ENSIGNS John S Porter McPherson Probably good Ensign Philadelphia Francis Johnson   Inquire of Chester David Denny perhaps Lt. Young & writes a good hand & good English Archibald D Davis Lancaster Young Dennis Wheelen David Denny do Elija Griffiths Richard Thomas
I perceive it would be agreeable to the Commander in Chief to receive frequent communications from you and particularly to understand the state of public supplies, that is the quantities on hand & the measures in execution to procure others. I give you this hint as a guide & would advise to have a full statement made out with notes of what is further doing & send it to him. Yrs. truly ADfS ,...
You will have observed in the list transmitted you the name of Mr. Jacob Morton as for a Majority. I understood him that he would accept it. But he now tells me he will take nothing less than a Regiment. This seems too much to begin with, if a competent person who has served can be found. Mr. Abijah Hammond who was in one of the N Eng Regiments during the War though not soliciting it would...
Col Stevens tells me he has exhausted the money you sent him in preliminary purchases of Timber &c. & is in debt with embarrassment to pay & likely to be compelled to dismiss workmen &c. Such a state of things is hurtful to the public service, discredits the Administration & increases expence. It ought to be avoided if possible. Stevens says pains have been taken to excite doubts about him &...
Yours dated by mistake Augt. 6th. I received yesterday. I postponed a reply ’till to day because I wished first to reflect maturely. My mind is unalterably made up. I shall certainly not hold the commission on the plan proposed, and only wait an official communication to say so. I return you the inclosures in your letter. You may depend on my fidelity to your friendly confidence. I shall...
I think I heretofore mentioned to you that to avoid the chance of difficulty with the President, I had written or would write to him urging the appointment of Mr. Philip Church to a Captaincy. I have just received a very obliging letter from him, and in which he assures me of his willingness to appoint him to that grade, and that he would write to you accordingly. Thus is all difficulty on...
I thank you, My Dear Sir, for the prompt communication of the intelligence contained in your letter by yesterdays Post. As to the Regulations (if as I suppose you mean) those for the tactics & discipline of the army—I must answer that hitherto I have done nothing more towards it than some preliminary readings & reflection. The undetermined situation, & the necessity of a close attention to my...
I received yesterday your private letter of the 16th, with its inclosures, now returned. It was essential for you to take a decisive course & to leave the blame of further delay at some other door. There can be no doubt of the propriety of combining the aid of General Officers. But Pinckney being now arrived, it seems to me very proper & necessary that he also should be called upon. You will...
I was yesterday honourd with your letter transmitting my commission as Inspector and Major General. Agreeably to your desire I hold myself prepared to attend you within the period you assign. But as the object appears to embrace a concert of advice and assistance with General Knox, who cannot be expected in much less than the utmost limit of the time pre[s]cribed, I shall permit myself to...
The state of my health and of the Weather yesterday and to day must prevent my communicating the result of the consultation intended to be had with the Gentlemen I mentioned in my letter of Yesterday. I answer your inquiry Thus far according to the data which I previously possessed. It cannot be expedient to keep men on such of the Islands as the winter shall find without fortifications in a...
[ Trenton , November 9, 1798. In a letter to Hamilton on November 10, 1798, McHenry wrote : “I received your letter of yesterday this morning at 5 o’clock.” Letter not found. ] H was on his way to Philadelphia to meet with George Washington, McHenry, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to discuss plans for the Army.
I now communicate the result of my conference with the Commander in Chief and General Pinckney, on the subject of extra allowances to Officers detached on service, so as to be obliged to incur expences, on the Road and at places where there are no military Posts We are all of opinion, that in such cases an extra allowance ought to be made, and this even to Officers who receive extra...
I regretted that I was detained to the last moment of being in time for the stage, to which my baggage had been previously sent, and thereby prevented from calling upon you before my final departure from Philadelphia. If the recruiting service is to be confided to me, I ought as soon as possible to be definitively apprised of it, and in the mean time, I shall be glad to have the instructions...
You will observe among the propositions lately communicated by the Commander in Chief, that of the addition of two troops to complete the Regiment of Cavalry to ten troops. The idea was that these two troops should be Hussars . It is much to be wished that Congress would agree to a present addition of two troops to be carried to the actual number of the others. In the distribution of New York...
You are informed that Mr. Hill is in possession of drafts of surveys made during the last war of our harbour and bay. It is very interesting that the Government should acquire these drafts. You will I presume think that they ought to be deposited in your department as an item in the general mass of information necessary towards plans of general defence. If so you will purchase them, if it be...
I have been reflecting on the subject of an arrangement for the command of the 2d. Regiment of Artillery and for the Inspectorship of Artillery. I believe on the whole you can do nothing better than appoint Tousard , who I understand is next in rank after Burbeck, to the command of the Regiment and Major Hoops to the Inspectorship. Confidence, by halves is seldom wise. Toussard is in the...
I am this moment favoured with your letter of the 18th. instant and thank you for the ideas personal to me. Mr. Laurance, somewhat abruptly, regrets that I promoted his son’s nomination, as it was his desire that he should continue to pursue his profession. As I could not divine this desire of his, he certainly had no cause of displeasure with me. In case Laurance’s name is witheld at the...
I do not know what is the practice in nominations, as to annexing Counties to names; but I do know that to annex them to the military nominations about to be made will be likely to lead to error. In several cases it was somewhat uncertain what County was the place of residence, and if I recollect rightly there is certainly a mistake in this respect in at least one instance in the state of New...
As it may possibly not have come to you through any other channel, I think it well to inform you that General Huntington has been displeased at not having received official notice of his appointment with his Commission. This, if not already so, ought to be remedied. I hear nothing of nominations. What malignant influence hangs upon our military affairs? With great esteem & regard   Yr. Obed...
The unascertained situation, in which I have been, since my acceptance of the Military appointment, I now hold, has been not a little embarrassing to me. I had no sooner heard of the law creating the Office than I was told by members of the Congress that I was generally considered as the person designated by circumstances to fill that office and that the expectation of those who most actively...
I received on Saturday two letters from you desiring that your different propositions might be thrown into two Bills & suggesting the idea of an Incorporation of the several existing laws into one system. This idea is a good one, but to accomplish it with sufficient correctness would require several days to examine carefully and prepare with accuracy. Besides this, I incline to the opinion...
I find I cannot have ready for this days post the bill for the Provisional army. Inclosed are some additional clauses relating to organisation consequently to be inserted in the Bill sent by yesterdays post. You will easily determine their proper position there. They are necessary to systematic propriety. General provisions of this kind will prevent continual repetitions in every new law...
You will receive herewith the Draft of a Bill for a provisional army. It includes only those things of the former Bill which are appropriate to this object—the other parts of that Bill being now in full force. The operation of the Bill which has been already sent you renders the repetition of several clauses in the present un [ne]cessary. The aim indeed ought to be to have a fundamental...
This will be handed to you by Mr. Brinley a Gentleman of New Port who is on the list of nominations of Lieutenants. You will find among the letters very strong recommendations of this Gentleman. I very well remember that the General Officers lately convened at Philadelphia hesitated not a little between this Gentleman & Mr. Ellery for the command of a Company & that finally it was agreed to...
I send you the draft of a Bill for regulating the Medical Establishment (I avoid purposely the term department which I would reserve for the great branches of Administration). You will see that nothing but an organisation with a general outline of duty is provided for. Detail-regulations will properly come from the President and the Departments, and the less these are legislated upon, in such...
You ask my opinion as to proper arrangements for the command of the Military Force, on the ground that the Commander in Chief declines at present an active part. This is a delicate subject for me—yet, in the shape in which it presents itself, I shall wave the scruples which are natural on the occasion. If I rightly understood the Commander in Chief, his wish was that all the Military points...
New York, February 6, 1799. “… I perceive that it will be useful for me in the progress of the trusts, which I am and shall be charged to execute, to have an accurate statement of the Officers of the corps of Artillerists and Engineers, and the distribution of them which has been heretofore made among the different portions of this Corps.…” Copy, in the handwriting of Philip Church, Hamilton...