Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from John F. Hamtramck, 19 September 1799

From John F. Hamtramck

Pittsburgh September 19, 1799. Acknowledges Hamilton’s letters of June 5, July 2, 22, 31, 1799.1 States that at Detroit the officers and men need practice in maneuvers, that the non-commissioned officers do not command the respect of the men, and that the problems with the police have been corrected. Adds that all the garrisons need copies of “the Baron2 and the Articles of War.”3 Complains of the drunkenness of the Indians at Detroit. Supports the passage of a law for the Northwest Territory similar to the Canadian act of March 29, 1777,4 prohibiting the sale of liquor to the Indians without written permission from the Governor General of the province, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, or the commanding officer of a post. Encloses a copy of a letter from the chief of the Kaskaskias, which has been forwarded to Governor Arthur St. Clair.5 States that Detroit should not be reinforced, for Colonel David Strong’s information concerning Indian hostility6 was unfounded and was originated by land speculators.

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1H’s letters of July 2, 31, 1799, are listed in the appendix to this volume. For his letter of July 22, see “Circular to the Commandants of Regiments,” July 22, 1799.

2For the manual written by Baron von Steuben, see H to James McHenry, May 21, 1799, note 1.

3Rules and Articles for the better Government of the Troops Raised, or to be raised and kept in pay by and at the expense of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Printed by Steiner and Kammerer, 1794). See H to Jonathan Dayton, August 6, 1798, note 11.

4“An Ordinance To prevent the selling of strong liquors to the Indians in the province of Quebec, as also to deter persons from buying their arms or cloathing, and for other purposes relative to the trade and intercourse with the said Indians” (Lower Canada. Ordinances made and passed by the Governor and Legislative Council of the Province of Quebec, 17 Geo. III, C. 7).

5See Daniel Strong to H, July 12, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume). In this letter Strong stated: “Governor St. Clair has not yet arrived but I have much solicitude to see him, that some definite arrangement be concerted for the government of the Indians.”

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