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regulated army is thought necessary to the security or defence of the country.
HAMILTON TO HAMTRANCK.
New-York, May 23d, 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 of 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 the 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 of 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 Sergeant, 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.
New-York, May 23d, 1799. SIR:
It is important to the service in every way, that vacancies which happen in the several regiments should be as 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 influence 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 to 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 channels. 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.
HAMILTON TO M'HENRY.
New-York, May 23, 1'99. * * * * * Embarrassment being likely to grow o it of the question about the sales of the Indians to the individuals alluded to, will it not be expedient for the public to hold a treaty with them, and make the acquisition of the lands to the use of the United States? A small compensation to the Indians will satisfy all their scruples, and the United States will be enabled to control the intrusions of the irregular purchasers. Otherwise it is probable settlements will grow up under their titles hostile
to government, because originally in disobedience to law. It may also be a question whether, if by the effect of their purchase the acquisition can be made by the United States on easier terms, it may not be advisable to extinguish their pretensions by the grant of a portion of their lands. This probably may be accomplished without difficulty. Temporising measures on a distant frontier are often proper for a government which does not choose to keep on foot a considerable force, effectually to awe sedition and hostility.
HAMILTON TO COL, STEVENS.
New-YORK, May 24, 1799. SIR:
I understand from the Secretary of War, that in the capacity of agent for the War Department I am to look to you for the duties usually performed by the quartermaster-general and commissary of military stores. I shall look to you accordingly for these services, and therefore shall direct all returns relating to the proper objects to be made to you, in the expectation that you will attend to the procuring and forwarding of such as are required with propriety. With this view you will open a correspondence with the proper officers at the seat of government. The present system is that Tench Francis, Esq., as purveyor of supplies, procures all articles in the several branches of supply, which are placed by him in the disposition of Samuel Hodgdon, Esq., as superintendent of military stores, who is to oversee all the issues of those articles. I believe the quartermaster-general is to take his station at the seat of government, and is to be the auxiliary of those officers.
It is expected that the great mass of supplies will be procured and furnished by the immediate agency of the officers above mentioned, and that you will only be incidentally called upon to provide. But you will have to make application for the supplies iwhich will be wanted at the different stations and posts of the army, and to see that they are punctually and expeditiously fur. nished by those whose province it is to do so. For this purpose you will forward to them the returns which you shall receive, first taking such abstracts from them as will enable you to judge how far they have been complied with. This points out the general line of the service expected from you. Explanations, as occasions occur, will be made for your more particular information.
I shall count fully upon your diligence and zeal, and if not in the first instance, at least eventually, I shall confide that a compensation adequate to what shall appear to be the extent of your trouble and responsibility will be made.
HAMILTON TO M'HENRY.
New-YORK, May 25, 1799. SIR:
I recur to 'two of your letters of the 9th and 10th instant. The reflections in the first respecting the enlistment of foreigners entirely accord with my impressions, as you have heretofore seen. I adhere to the opinion, that none but natives or naturalized citizens ought to be engaged. Of the latter, residence in this country anterior to our Revolution, to be proved to the satisfaction of the recruiting officer, or a certificate of the naturali. zation, ought to be the criterion, and none ought to be enlisted who have not resided in the county where they shall be enlisted at least one year immediately preceding the enlistment.
It is true that contraventions of the rule, by imposition upon, or connivance of the recruiting officers, will in some instances happen. But they will not be so numerous as to prevent the object being essentially attained.
The idea is held out in your letter of postponing the enlistment of foreigners until after a district should be exhausted of natives willing to enlist. I should doubt the expediency of a