From Jonathan Dayton
Elizabeth town [New Jersey] March 20th. 1799
Your favor dated the 18th. was received this morning. The letter accompanying it for Majr. Ford1 was immediately sent to the Post office at Newark, from whence a Mail goes this afternoon to Morris.
In answer to your enquiry respecting the Major’s character, I can assure you that he has ever been considered a good officer, and that I know him to be perfectly sound, correct & firm in his political principles. His family have been long looked up to as the head of the Federalists in Morris county, and have uniformly opposed themselves to the torrent of Jacobinism, more prevalent there than in any quarter of our State. He was a Subaltern in my father’s Regiment2 during the Revolutionary war, & acquitted himself always well.
I presume that neither the Secy. of War nor yourself are ignorant, that that portion of the people of N. Jersey which are most contiguous to the scene of insurrection3 are that most uninformed, & consequently not the best disposed to support the Government & Administration. Some, more than common, precautions should therefore be taken in the selection of their Militia, or of their officers more particularly, if any draft should be made upon them for this service. As a certain number will doubtless be ordered to hold themselves in readiness to support Mc.Pherson, if required, it may be well for you to give a cautionary hint to our Governor4 by letter.
I am Dr. General Yours very sincerely
Majr. General Hamilton
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
2. Elias Dayton of Elizabethtown, New Jersey, served throughout the American Revolution and in 1783 was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. See “Continental Congress. Report on the Promotion of Colonels,” January 7, 1783. Dayton was a member of the Continental Congress in 1787 and 1788 and of the New Jersey Assembly in 1791 and 1792 and from 1794 to 1796.
4. Richard Howell.