George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Alexander Hamilton, 16 February 1799

From Alexander Hamilton


Dear SirNew York Feby 16. 1799

Different reasons have conspired to prevent my writing to you since my return to New York—the multiplicity of my avocations, an imperfect state of health and the want of something material to communicate.

The Official letter herewith transmitted will inform you of the disposition of our Military Affairs which has been recently adopted by the Department of War. There shall be no want of exertion on my part to promote the branches of the service confided to my care.1

But I more and more discover cause to apprehend that obstacles of a very peculiar kind stand in the way of an efficient and successful management of our military concerns, These it would be unsafe at present to explain.

It may be useful that I should be able to write to you hereafter some confidential matters relating to our Administration without the mention of names. When this happens I shall designate the President by X, the Secretary of State by V, of the Treasury by I, and of the department of War by C.2

Everything in the Northern quarter, as far as I can learn, continues favorab⟨le⟩ to the Government. Very affecty & truly I remain My dear Sir Your obedt Servt

A. Hamilton

Copy, DLC: Hamilton Papers.

1The letter “herewith transmitted” is dated 15 February. On 25 Feb. GW responded to the two letters separately: his response to Hamilton’s official letter of 15 Feb. is in Tobias Lear’s hand; the response to the private letter of 16 Feb. is in GW’s own hand.

2No letter from Hamilton to GW using these symbols has been found.

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