Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from John Jay, 5 November 1798

From John Jay

Albany 5 Novr. 1798

Dear Sir

On the 24 ult. I had the pleasure of writing to you on the Subject of fortifying the port of New York, and the measures preparatory to a Plan for it. Presuming that it has come to your Hands, it will only be necessary for me to inform you, that pursuant to an Intimation contained in it, I shall provide for the Expenses of perfecting the Survey, by immediately writing to Genl. Clarkson,1 and enclosing to him an order on the Bank of New York for five hundred Dollars to be applied towards that object.

An unexpected and painful Complaint (the Piles) will render the Time of my being at New York uncertain. I had intended to have set out this week for Bedford and Rye, and to have gone on from the latter place to N York, but at present I must postpone it.

When the Survey is finished, and all such Information as you deem requisite shall be obtained, it would in my opinion be adviseable that you should consult with Genl. Clarkson Col. Burr and Col. Stevens, and such others as you may think proper, as to the Plan which ought to result.

Fortification being an art to which my attention has not been turned, I must rely less on my own Judgment than on that of those to whom the Subject is familiar—my absence therefore ought not to occasion Delay.

I am Dr. Sir with great Esteem and Regard   your most obt. Servt

John Jay

Majr. Genl. Hamilton

LS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; LC, Governor’s Letter Books, from the original in the New York State Library, Albany; copy, Dr. Frank Monaghan, Washington, D.C.

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

On November 5, 1798, Jay wrote to Matthew Clarkson: “The Presidt. of the U.S. having authorized Genl. Hamilton to concert with me a Plan for fortifying the port of New York, an accurate Survey of such of its Shores and waters, as may have Relation to that object should be made. In a late Letter to General Hamilton I have intimated my opinion that this should be immediately done, and that the Expences incident to the Execution of his orders for it, should be paid. The General will superintend the whole Business, except the Settlement and payments of accounts. The Expences attending the proposed Survey should be immediately provided for; and therefore I take the Liberty of enclosing an order on the Bank of New York, to pay you five hundred Dollars for that purpose. I hope it will not be inconvenient to you to keep settle and pay all the accounts of the Expenditures that shall be made of the monies appropriated by the State for fortifying the port of New York, and on the Terms of which Business of that kind is usually transacted” (ALS, New York Society Library, New York City; LC, Governor’s Letter Books, from the original in the New York State Library, Albany; copy, Dr. Frank Monaghan, Washington, D.C.).

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