Alexander Hamilton Papers

From Alexander Hamilton to Ebenezer Stevens, 19 November 1798

To Ebenezer Stevens1

Nov. 19. 1798


Since my arrival here I have received three letters from you2 to the contents of which I have attended though my engagements have not before admitted a reply.

If I recollect rightly the law of the State,3 it authorises, and in my opinion expediency requires, that the sum requisite to complete the batteries undertaken by order of the Military Committee, in addition to the 50000 Dollars provided by the Corporation,4 be paid out of the fund appropriated by the Legislature. It seems to me that our city will stand in need of all its resources for purposes relative to the health of its inhabitants5 and that it is not adviseable further to engage them for an object of defence which it has an absolute right to look for from other quarters. But with this opinion, I do not know that I have as yet any power to direct the application of the fund and for this reason only forbear to do it. You may shew this letter to General Clarkson to possess him of the sanction of my Opinion if his discretion shall happen to be otherwise adequate.6

I have not time to add more than the assurance of the esteem & regard with which I am Dr Sir

Yr obed servant

A Hamilton

P S. I put the inclosed letter for Governor Jay7 under cover to you that you may forward it or not according to the advice which may have been received of the Governor’s being on his way or about to set out for N York.

Col E Stevens

ALS, New-York Historical Society, New York City; copy, in the handwriting of Philip Church, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1For background to this letter, see the introductory note to H to James McHenry, June 1, 1798.

2These letters are dated November 8, 15, 17, 1798.

3“An Act for the further defence of this State and for other purposes” (New York Laws, 22nd Sess., Ch. V [August 27, 1798]). For the contents of this act, see H to McHenry, June 1, 1798, note 16.

5The city was recovering from the yellow fever epidemic of the late summer and fall of 1798.

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