Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 29 August 1799

From James McHenry

War Department, August 29, 1799. Writes in reply to Hamilton’s letter of August 25 and states: “It is understood to have been the general custom in the Army to act, pro hac vice, as Judge Advocate on General Courts Martial, whenever the Judge Advocate to the Army, could not be present, or that Office, as is now the case, was vacant; it is not known that any established pay or compensation was allowed to the person thus acting.” Adds that for “expences on the road and for boarding and lodging” an allowance is granted and that it is “the duty of the Accountant to settle the quantum.” Discusses the question of Charles W. Hare’s1 compensation as judge advocate at two courts-martial. States that payment for Lieutenant William W. Wands’s2 service as a member of the court that tried Captain Samuel C. Vance3 will be determined by the regulations of December 19, 1798,4 which established “the allowance to be made to officers detached on Service so as to be obliged to incur expences on the road, and at places not Military posts.” Declares “that the allowance to Recruiting officers of two dollars for every Recruit they enlist was designed to cover the whole expences of the Services, and that it precluded a further allowance.” Concludes that it would be “dangerous and inexpedient” to increase the allowance.

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LS, letterpress copy, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1Charles Willing Hare, a resident of Philadelphia, was twenty years old in 1799. On December 7, 1799, he was admitted to the Philadelphia bar (The Philadelphia Bar. A Complete Catalogue of Members from 1776 to 1868 [Philadelphia: Review Printing House, 1868], 12).

2Wands was a second lieutenant in the Twelfth Regiment of Infantry.

3Vance was a captain in the Third Regiment of Infantry. On July 25, 1799, Caleb Swan appointed Vance deputy paymaster for the Western Army (Swan to H, June 14, 1799 [listed in the appendix to this volume]). Vance was accused of insulting William Simmons, the accountant of the War Department (McHenry to H, February 22, 1799 [listed in the appendix to Volume XXII]).

4See the enclosure to McHenry to H, April 22, 1799.

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