From James McHenry
Philadelphia 27 May 1800
Inclosed are copies of two letters,1 which you will be pleased to return. They will convey to you my opinions on some recent propositions.
Mr Stoddert who will after the 1st of June, exercise the duties of Secry. of war,2 asked me to day—if I had directed you & Gen Pinckney to thank the troops or say any clever things to them in the name of the President, on announcing to them the order for their disbandment. I told him I had not had any order or intimation from the President on the subject. I presume you will have a letter from Mr Stoddert to supply the omission.
J M H
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. McHenry to John Adams, May 23, 26, 1800 (copies, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress).
The first of these letters was written in reply to Adams to McHenry, May 22, 1800, enclosing William S. Smith’s request that he be appointed commanding officer of the Second Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston). On May 23, McHenry wrote to Adams that he opposed Smith’s appointment on the ground that although the Constitution permitted the President to fill vacancies during a recess of the Senate, the office in question was not a vacancy, for it had never been filled. For H’s views on Smith’s appointment, see H to Adams, May 24, 1800.
In his letter to Adams of May 26, 1800, McHenry objected to Lewis Tousard’s appointment as commandant of the Second Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers and inspector of Artillery for the same reason that he opposed Smith’s appointment. That is, since neither office had ever been filled, neither office could be said to be—in the constitutional sense—vacant.
Tousard, however, was appointed. See Tousard to H, May 26, 1800.
For earlier correspondence on the President’s authority to appoint Army officers during a Senate recess, see McHenry to H, April 26, 1799; H to McHenry, May 3, 1799. See also McHenry to Adams, May 7, 1799 (ALS, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston); Adams to McHenry, May 16, 1799 (LC, Adams Family Papers, deposited in the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston).