Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from George Washington, 5 November 1794

From George Washington

Philadelphia 5th. Novr. 1794

Dear Sir,

Since my last to you,1 I have received your several letters of the 25th. 26th. and 29th. of last month, & am glad to hear that the Troops continued to be in good health & spirits, notwithstanding the bad weather & the Roads; and that further indications of submission were likely to be manifested by the Insurgents.

I have not received the rout of either column of the army—nor a copy of the order establishing them, issued on the day of my departure from Bedford.2

Upon enquiry, I find that it was copies only of Papers, that had been sent from the Secretary of State’s Office, the originals being adjudge Necessary for the Archives.3

For want of a quorum in the Senate, Congress have not yet proceeded on business;4 and it is questionable, it seems, whether it will make a house to day, five members being wanting for this purpose, yesterday afternoon.

Bache (as I expected) has opened his batteries upon your motives for remaining with the Army.5 As the papers (I presume) are sent to you, I shall not repeat them. Although there are some late arrivals, the Gazettes have not, as yet, announced any thing new.

Mrs. Hamilton & your family were well yesterday. Mrs. Schuyler6 and Son (John) and daughter, are there, but talk of going away to day, or to morrow.

I am   Your Affect.

Go: Washington

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

2Henry Lee’s general orders for October 21, 1794, read in part as follows: “… the Army will move in two columns, the right wing composed of the new Jersey and Pennsylvania lines forming the right column, under the immediate Command of his excellency Governor [Thomas] Mifflin, The left wing composed of the Maryland & Virginia lines forming the left column, with the Commander in Chief…” (Baldwin, “Orders Issued by General Henry Lee,” description begins Leland D. Baldwin, ed., “Orders Issued by General Henry Lee during the Campaign against the Whiskey Insurrectionists,” The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, XIX (June, 1936). description ends 90–91). See also H to Washington, October 29, November 3, 1794.

3See H to Washington, October 29, 1794, note 4.

4The second session of the Third Congress was scheduled to meet on November 3, 1794.

5Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was publisher and editor of the [Philadelphia] General Advertiser. On November 8, 1794, the paper’s name was changed to the Aurora. General Advertiser, and it subsequently was usually known as the Aurora.

On the day Washington wrote to H, the following appeared in the General Advertiser: “Those who consult the secret springs of the human mind will readily account for the Secretary of the Treasury’s presence with the army. The excise as the child of his own heart, tho’ a bastard in the soil that gave it birth, has called forth the feelings of the father, when the avenging sword was to be drawn for the punishment of its opposers. The Secretary by his presence with the army will, thro’ the means of his talents and influence, to forward the views of his faction, assist in placing the principle which led to the almost unanimous exertions against the opposers of the law, in a false light, a favourite end with the faction at the present moment. It is their wish to make the friends of constitutional law be considered as friends to the introduction into our soil of all the poisonous exotics of the old world: But the discriminating sense of the people of this country will baffle the attempt and while they will hold up their hand against all illegal opposition to the measures of government will also ever raise their voice against all the instrumentality systems of the Secretary.”

On the following day Bache wrote: “The public appear to have some curiosity to learn the object of the Treasury Secretary’s presence with the army, and his meddling interference in a department totally irrelative to his official duties. It is truly inconceivable how the Secretary’s presence at the seat of government can be spared, especially at the opening of an important session of Congress. By some it is whispered that he is with the army without invitation, and by many it is shrewdly suspected his conduct is a first step towards a deep laid scheme,—not for the promotion of his country’s prosperity,—but the advancement of his private interests and the gratification of an ambition, laudable in itself, if pursued by proper means.”

6Mrs. Philip Schuyler, H’s mother-in-law.

Index Entries