Front Page Titles (by Subject) hamilton to hamtranck - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 7
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
hamilton to hamtranck - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
hamilton to hamtranck
May 23, 1799.
Sir:—* * * You are aware that the governors of the Northwestern Territory and the Mississippi Territory are severally ex officio superintendents of Indian affairs. The management of those affairs, under the direction of the Secretary at War, appertains to them. The military in this respect are only to be auxiliary to their plans and measures. In saying this, it must not be understood that they are to direct military dispositions and operations. But they are to be organs of all negotiations and communications between the Indians and the government. They are to determine when and where supplies are to be furnished to those people, and what other accommodations they are to have. The military, in regard to all such matters, are only to act as far as their co-operation may be required by the superintendent, avoiding interferences without previous concert with them, or otherwise than in conformity with their views. This will exempt the military from a responsibility which had better rest elsewhere, and it will promote a regular and uniform system of conduct towards the Indians; which cannot exist if every commandant of a post is to intermeddle separately and independently in the management of the concerns which relate to them.
This communication is made in conformity with an instruction from the Secretary at War, who particularly desires that “The military officers may be required to refer the Indians, in all matters relating to their national affairs or grievances, to the Governor of the Northwestern Territory and the Governor of the Mississippi Territory, or the temporary Indian Agent nearest to their post, as the case may require; and that the commandants of the posts in the Mississippi Territory may be instructed to furnish on the order of Governor Sargent, when the same can be spared, such rations for the Indians who may visit the said posts, as he may from time to time direct.”
This letter being addressed to you as the temporary commander in the presumed absence of General Wilkinson, you will act on it accordingly, recollecting that your attention is to extend to all the troops and posts from Pittsburgh westward to the Mississippi, on the lakes and Tennessee; in short, to all which constitute the Western army and its dependencies.
But in saying this, as a guide to you, it is not my intention to contravene any arrangements of command which General Wilkinson may have made previous to his departure.
May 23, 1799.
Sir:—It is important to the service in every way, that vacancies which happen in the several regiments should be an speedily as possible filled. As no person can be more interested in this being done, and with a careful selection of character, than the commandants of regiments, it is desirable that they should, from time to time, propose to the general under whose command they may be, candidates for filling those vacancies, in order that they may be by him offered to the consideration of the Executive.
In doing this, however, it must be recollected, that there is no part of his functions in which it is upon principle more essential that the Executive should be perfectly free from extrinsic influences of every kind, than that of the choice of officers. Hence it is proper that no expectation should be entertained that the characters presented for consideration will be preferred, that no encouragement should be given them which may occasion embarrassment or chagrin in case of their not being adopted, and that no inferences painful to the person recommending should be drawn from the failure of the recommendation. This failure will doubtless often happen. Information of more eligible candidates will frequently come through other cannels. Collateral considerations will in no small number of instances occur, which, between candidates of equal pretensions, will naturally lead to a preference of persons who may have been presented through other channels.
In a word, the recommendation of the commandant is only to be considered as one mode in which information of fit characters may be conveyed to the Executive.
It occasionally happens that experience leads to alterations in the sub-districts or their rendezvouses. It is expected that whenever this happens, the commandant within whose circle it occurs will give notice of the change to the contractor of his circle, in order that provision may be made for the requisite supply.
It is understood that some misapprehension has existed among some recruiting officers about the articles which the contractors and their agents are to supply.
It will be proper to signify to them that these are only to embrace provisions, quarters, fuel, straw, and, where there is no surgeon, medical aid and supply.