Alexander Hamilton Papers
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From Alexander Hamilton to Robert Purviance, 18 September 1794

To Robert Purviance

Treasury Department
September 18th 1794


The Congress of the United States having by their Act of the 20th of March 17941 authorised the President to receive a Cession of the Lands, on which any of the fortifications directed to be made by the said Act may be erected, or where such Cessions shall not be made, to purchase such Lands on behalf of the United States—I am directed by the President2 to request that you will take measures for ascertaining the value of the ground upon which the fortifications are now constructing at Whetstone point in your District and to enter into a conditional treaty with Mr. Alexander Furnival3 the proprietor for the purchase thereof, referring the agreement here accompanied with a description of the Premisses for ratification.

I am with consideration   Sir,   Your most obedient Servant

A Hamilton

P.S. I will thank you to communicate the contents of this letter to Mr. Furnival.

Robert Purviance Esquire
Collector of Baltimore

LS, Columbia University Libraries.

1“An Act to provide for the Defence of certain Ports and Harbors in the United States” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America (Boston, 1845). description ends 345–46). See also Henry Knox to H, March 29, 1794.

2On June 6, 1794, George Washington “Sent to the Secy of war a letter from Alexr Furnival, dated Baltimore 3d. June on the subject of the sale of ground at that place to erect fortifications on—desired the Secy. to pay proper attention to it” (JPP description begins “Journal of the Proceedings of the President,” George Washington Papers, Library of Congress. description ends , 296–97).

3Furnival, a Baltimore merchant, had been a lieutenant in Smith’s Independent Company of Maryland Artillery during the American Revolution. He retired in 1779 as a captain.

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