Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 15 June 1799

From James McHenry

Philadelphia, June 15, 1799. “Your observations relative to my agent for procuring supplies and the Superintendant are but too well founded.1 The last has so strong a supporter,2 that I cannot see when or how I am to get rid of him. As to the Purveyor, I have for some time been reconnoitring for an assistant3 to him whose talents and activity joined to mercantile knowledge would supply his defects. Jonathan Williams4 has appeared to me the best qualified, and I shall not lose a moment to induct him if he will accept of the appointment. The Quarter Master General5 who is now at Pittsburg ought to be here: He was permitted to go thither to make the necessary dispositions for the western army, and adjust some private business. I shall unless you chuse to do it, write by next post to expedite his return.…”

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADf, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress.

1For H’s “observations” on Tench Francis and Samuel Hodgdon, see H to McHenry, two letters of June 14, 1799.

2This is a reference to Timothy Pickering, who was a close friend and former business partner of Samuel Hodgdon.

4Williams, a native of Boston and a great-nephew of Benjamin Franklin, had been prize agent and commercial agent for Congress at Nantes during the American Revolution. After the war he returned to the United States, settled in Philadelphia, and became an investor in various stock and land operations. In 1796 he was appointed associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia.

5John Wilkins, Jr.

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