Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Caleb Swan, 1 November 1799

To Caleb Swan1

New York, November 1, 1799. “When I was at Trenton2 I considered it as perfectly understood between you and me that those officers of the old regiments3 to whom arrears of pay are due should receive the sums to which they are entitled immediately from your hands. I have been since informed that you decline this and refer the officers to their regimental Paymasters.4 They are of course left without the means of joining their respective corps. This surprises me the more as I considered the business, when I left Trenton, to be finally settled. I do therefore expect that all officers of the old regiments to whom arrears of pay are due will immediately receive what they are entitled to.”

Df, in the handwriting of Thomas Y. How, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Swan was paymaster general.

How, who write the draft of this letter, was a resident of Trenton, New Jersey. He became H’s secretary on July 11, 1799. See Aaron Ogden to H, June 28, 1799; H to Swan, October 14, 1799. During the undeclared war with France he was also a second lieutenant in the Eleventh Regiment of Infantry. See H to James McHenry, first letter of July 17, 1799.

2H had been in Trenton from October 8 to 17, 1799, for a conference concerning the Western Army with James McHenry, James Wilkinson, and William North. See McHenry to H, August 29, 1799, note 1; H to McHenry, October 6, 1799; H to James Miller, October 7, 1799; H to Elizabeth Hamilton, October 17, 1799; H to George Washington, first letter of October 21, 1799.

3H is referring to the Western Army. See the introductory note to H to James Gunn, December 22, 1798.

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