Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from James McHenry, 1796–January 1797

From James McHenry

[Philadelphia, 1796–January, 1797. At this time, McHenry “suggested to Hamilton the establishment of a permanent navy yard, and enclosed a draft of his departmental report in which he tried not to censure his predecessors.”1 Letter not found.]

Steiner, James McHenry description begins Bernard C. Steiner, The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, 1907). description ends , 180, note 1.

1Although Steiner dates this letter February 21, 1797, his description of its contents indicates that it was written earlier.

In the House of Representatives on January 19, 1797, “A Letter was received from the Secretary of the Treasury, enclosing the Report of the Secretary of War, on the subject of the Naval Establishment, and an estimate respecting the ports and harbors of the United States. What related to the Naval Establishment was referred to a committee on that subject, and what respected the ports and harbors was referred to a committee appointed to take their state into consideration” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States: with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , VI, 1913).

In response to a letter of December 21, 1796, from Josiah Parker of Virginia, chairman of the House committee for “inquiring into the state of Naval Equipments &c &c,” McHenry reported on January 11, 1797, “that, if Congress perceives advantages in the extension of their marine, or think it expedient that early precautions should be taken to secure to the United States a lasting fund of live oak for future use, it will be proper that authority should be given for the purpose, as well as to purchase a site for a navy yard” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Naval Affairs, I, 26–27). The committee’s report, dated January 25, 1797, reads in part: “Your committee further report, as their opinion, that a sum of money would be appropriated for the purpose of purchasing and fitting up a navy yard …” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Naval Affairs, I, 26).

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