Front Page Titles (by Subject) hamilton to mchenry - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7
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hamilton to mchenry - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 7.
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hamilton to mchenry
December 16, 1798.
I regretted that I was detained to the last moment of being in time for the stage in which my baggage had been previously sent, and thereby prevented from calling upon you before my final departure from Philadelphia.
If the recruiting service is to be confided to me, I ought, as soon as possible, to be definitely apprised of it, and in the meantime I shall be glad to have the instructions heretofore prepared for that purpose, that I may endeavor to obtain, for your final decision, new lights from officers who have had experience in this branch of the service. My own was very limited, and it is of great importance to proceed upon a right plan.
You recollect that, shortly after my first appointment, I was desired to turn my attention to a system of regulations for the tactics and discipline of the army. From that moment I have devoted much of my time to the preliminary investigations, and I shall devote a much larger proportion, if I am to consider myself as now in service, and entitled to the emoluments of the station; for, to be frank with you, it is utterly out of my power to apply my time to the public service without the compensations, scanty enough, which the law annexes to the office. If I were to receive them from the day of the appointment, I should be at least a thousand pounds the worse for my acceptance. From the time that it was fully known that I had re-engaged in military life, the uncertainty of my being able to render services for which I might be retained drove away more than one half of my professional practice, which I may moderately estimate at four thousand pounds a year. My pecuniary sacrifices already to the public ought to produce the reverse of a disposition everywhere to compel me to greater than the law imposes. This remark, I am well aware, is not necessary for you personally.
Again, If I am to discharge with effect the duties of my present office, I must make frequent journeys from one part of the army to another. Everybody knows that the expenses of such journeys would quickly eat out the narrow allowances of a major-general.
It will be disagreeable to be exposed to the dilemma of compromitting my reputation and that of the government by not producing the results to be expected from the department, or of ruining myself once more in performing services for which there is no adequate compensation.
The precedent of the last war is a full comment on the propriety of an extra allowance to the inspector-general. It is indeed indispensable, if he is to be useful.
It is always disagreeable to speak of compensations for one’s self, but a man past forty, with a wife and six children, and a very small property beforehand, is compelled to waive the scruples which his nicety would otherwise dictate.
With great esteem and regard, I remain, etc.
P. S.—I imagine it may be of service to communicate to Wolcott the two letters received from the Commander-in-Chief containing the results of our deliberation.