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Representative Hindman writes to the Secretary at War

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionMaryland Historical Society: McHenry Family Papers MS #647 view image
Document Information
Date August 12, 1798
Author Name William Hindman (primary)
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary)
Summary In this letter William Hindman, Congressman from Maryland, makes recommendations for military commissions to the Secretary at War. Hindman states that Federalist political credentials are essential for public appointments. Hindman further explains to McHenry that the Maryland militia has become tainted by "Jacobins." Hence, Hindman warns McHenry that the militia cannot be relied upon in the event of war with France. Hindman also discusses the unpopularity of the Alien and Sedition Acts among his constituents.
Document Format Letterbook
Document Notes Cited in McHenry to Washington, 11/14/1798.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; William Hindman; William Swan; Doctor Coates; Colonel Nicols; Francis Willson; William Smith; Thomas Smith; Mr. Perry; Joshua Seney; Jacobins; Colonel Howard; Mr. Hammond; David Stoddert; General Smith; Colonel Perry Benson; Thomas Jefferson; John Adams; William Hayward; Samuel Wright; Tories; Senate; France; ;
Related Places Talbot County; Easton; Philadelphia; Kent County; Bellfield; Baltimore; ;
Keywords The Sedition Bill; The Gag Law; Baltimore Papers; commission; fan; wedding; election; newspapers; war; federalism; ;
Key Phrases "He is very Federal, which in my estimation is essential." "Be assured my good friend that none but decidedly Federalist men ought to be appointed to office in the present critical and alarming state of our affairs: I would ask if a Tory during our Revolutionary War had applied for office, whether his application would not have been rejected with contempt, and pray are the Jacobins of this day better friends to our government than the tories were to our independence. They certainly are not. The inference I leave to you.

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Bellfield Talbot County Aug 12th 1798
My dear Sir
Inclosed is a Letter I received from a young Man in my Neighborhood who wishes a Commission in the Army as I have not much Knowledge of Him. I thought it best to send This Letter, by which you will be enabled to judge of his Fitness for Office - Since my Return this Mr. William Swan of Easton who was recommended to Me while in Philadelphia by Doct: Coates, Col: Nicols, whose letters I left with you has been with Me, anxious to know the Fate of his application, He assumes to be a spirited clever young Man, of good sense, & would probably make a good Officer; He is [undecipherable] and, which in my Estimation is essential. ~ Mr. Francis Q. Willson a young gentleman of a very respectable Family, is devious being a Trooper, & would be very thankful for any Commission; He is a brave young Man & of good Character, Sensible & highly federal, if consistent with prior Applications, I should be happy in his Success.
A few Days after I got Home, I went to Mr. Perry's Fo the Marriage of his Daughter with a Mr. William Smith Son of Mr. Thomas Smith of Kent County, where in dancing with a handsom young
looking Lady. I had upon Her Fan, which have made me very lame even since & has unfortunately deprived Me of the Power of meaning among my Constituents, which it seems is essential to I've me the least Chance of success at the next Election ~ Mr. Seney is in perpetual Motion, He & his Friends are increasing in their [undecipherable], innumerable lies which have not the Shadow of Foundation, are in Circulation, to destroy Me in the good Opinion of the People; the Sedition Bill by Them called the Gag Law, They[undecipherable] much upon, & I fear with too much Truth, as the [undecipherable] misrepresentations are made of that Law, which have made such unfavorable Impressions upon the Minds of the People, that it will be impossible to remove Them in Time; this I foresaw when I voted for the Bill, & told some of my Congressional Friends at the Time, the Effect it would probably produce ~ From what I have been able to collect I am of Opinion Seney will be elected, I have not [undecipherable] Myself this to any other Person, and Prudence forbids it. ~ As soon as I am able I will go thro my District, & endeavor to remove the unjust Prejudices which are taken up against the Sedition Bill - I hear that Mr. Seney has a great many Persons riding Day & Night, lying
trying to poison the Minds of the People, & representing Me as their [undecipherable] Enemy ~ You can have no Idea of the Violence & Virulence of the Jacobins here, & wonderful to relate their Numbers are increasing Beyond Calculation; & I have for some Time observed that their Insolence keeps Pace with the Devilty of the French - Be assured my good Friend that none but decidedly federal [undecipherable] ought to be appointed to Office, in the present critical &alarming State of our Affairs: I would ask if a Tory during our Revolutionary War had applied for Office, whether his application would not have been rejected with Contempt & pray! are the Jacobins of this Day better Friends to our Government, than the Tories were to our Independence, They certainly are not the Inference I leave to you ~ Do not conclude that I am unnecessarily frightened, my wish is to be in the strongest & safest situation to meet the worst of Enemies. I have many influential Friends. I do not hear that Any are as yet in Motion. Mr. Hammond I learn combated Mr. Leney last Tuesday at Easton, & my Friends joy defeated Him, notwithstanding his Partizans had collected for the Purpose.
I see by the Baltimore Papers that Colonel Howard
& General Smith are at [undecipherable], with which I am much pleased [undecipherable] the Colonel will defeat the General ~ I am delighted to see our Senator come out so strong & decided.
My best Respects to our Friend Stoddert, who I presume is going on surmoningly ~ I, the Accountant of the Navy Department [undecipherable, into Office. I mentioned to our Friend that [undecipherable] appointment is greatly disapproved by the Federalists here, I flatter myself his Appointment will do good & so I told Them I confess there is some Risque in it.
There have been some late jacobinical Promotions in the [undecipherable] here, Colonel Benson is made a general, who recently before publicly said at Easton, that if [undecipherable] Jefferson had been President, we should not now be at War or at the Eve of War with France ~ meaning no Doubt thereby that the war is [undecipherable] to Mr. Adams. Mr. William Hayward is made a Colonel, who has long been deemed jacobinical. I have lately conversed with Him & find Him changing & think if He votes at all, He will vote for Me. Colonel Samuel Wright commands another Regiment in this & [undecipherable], a most bitter French Jacobin: you see what a Reliance may be placed upon the militia here. Both [undecipherable] Adieu!
Your sincerely Sr
W. Hindman