Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Henry Knox, 12 February 1794

To Henry Knox1

Treasury department Febry 12th. 1794.


Inclosed you will find the copy of a letter from Mr. Habersham of the 16th ultimo.

The bearer of it2 (who is mentioned in it) informs me that from the month of June last till he left Georgia, there had been kept on foot from a thousand to twelve hundred Militia and that arrangements appeared to be going on for encreasing the number. The expense you will perceive, has been out of all proportion of what was contemplated.

I am compelled to state it as my opinion, that precise orders ought to be given to the Agent of the United States for supplying the forces in Georgia, not to authorise issues of any supplies on account of the United States for the Militia, or Corps called out, or embodied under the Authority of the State of Georgia, or of it’s Officers, except in cases specially sanctioned by this Government, and previously notified to him from the proper department. If this idea be adopted it will be requisite to communicate to him, what Corps may regularly be kept on foot under subsisting authority.

The bearer of Mr Habersham’s letter returns in the course of this week. It is desireable that a decision on the above point should be had in time to be conveyed by him.3

with great respect   I have the honor to be &c.

Alexander Hamilton

The Secretary at War.

Copy, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

2David Hillhouse was a resident of Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia, and a younger brother of James Hillhouse, a member of the House of Representatives from Connecticut.

3An entry in JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends for February 19, 1794, reads as follows: “The Secretary of war submitted the copy of a letter to him from the Secry of the treasury of the 12. inst: covering one from the Collector of Savanna & agent for the treasury Dept. at that place [John Habersham], on the subject of issuing supplies of rations to Militia on accot. of the US. The Secretary of War suggests the propriety of writting to the Govr. of Georgia [George Mathews] to have the force reduced to that authorised in a letter from the Secretary of the 30 May 93—of which I approved, & desired the Secretary to write accordingly” (JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 272). For Knox’s letter of May 30, 1793, see “Cabinet Meeting. Opinion on the Depredations of the Creek Indians Upon the State of Georgia,” May 29, 1793, note 13.

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