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The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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March 8, 1794.
The present situation of the United States is undoubtedly critical, and demands measures vigorous, though prudent. We ought to be in a respectable military posture, because war may come upon us, whether we choose it or not; and because, to be in a condition to defend ourselves, and annoy any who may attack us, will be the best method of securing our peace. If it is known that our principal maritime points are out of the reach of any but formal serious operations, and that the government has an efficient active force in its disposal for defence or offence on an emergency, there will be much less temptation to attack us, and much more hesitation to provoke us.
It seems then advisable—
Each regiment to consist of two battalions, and of the following officers and men:
1 colonel, 2 majors, 10 captains, 20 lieutenants, 2 lieutenants and adjutants, 2 sergeant-majors, 40 sergeants, 4 musicians, and 1,000 rank and file.
These troops to be engaged upon the following terms:
To be enlisted for two years; but upon condition, that if a war should break out with any European power, they shall be obliged to serve four years from the commencement of such war, upon the same terms as the troops of the establishment.
To receive as a bounty, clothes with 12 dollars per man.
To be under an obligation to meet forty days in the year, and thirty of these days to encamp. When assembled, to be paid, officers and men, as the troops of the establishment, and to have the same subsistence and rations. To be furnished with arms and accoutrements by the United States, to be surrendered at the expiration of their term of service.
The officers in time of war to rank and rise with the officers of the military establishment. The arrangement to cease, ipso facto, at the expiration of a certain term (about two years).
The expense of these operations would be,
In addition to this, the Legislature ought to vest the President of the United States with the power to lay an embargo, partial or general, and to arrest the exportation of commodities, partially or generally.
It may also deserve consideration whether the Executive ought not to take measures to form some concert of the neutral powers for common defence.
Mr. Hamilton presents his respects to the President—submits to him some reveries which have occupied his imagination. It may be interesting for the President to consider whether some such plan is not demanded by the conjunction of affairs; and if so, whether there ought not to be some Executive impulse. Many persons look to the President for the suggestion of measures corresponding with the exigency of affairs. As far as this idea may be founded, many important and delicate ideas are involved in the consideration.
The pains taken to preserve peace, include a proportional responsibility that equal pains be taken to be prepared for war.