From James McHenry
Trenton 28 Sept. 1799
My dear Sir
I have understood this morning that the monies expended on the works which have been directed to be erected by Brig. Gen. Wilkinson at Loftus’s heights have already occasioned an expenditure of above 80,000 Dolls. I can hardly beleive in the information, and yet it is sufficiently circumstantial to create no little uneasiness. The works at this place, were undertaken without orders. I shall send you copies of his instructions1 and of two letters to him of the 2d Augt. 1798 & 31 Jany 1799.2 What he has done may be right however notwithstanding the light in which it strikes me.
The appropriation for the defensive protection of the frontiers, by which is meant militia services & fortfications is 60,000 only.3
This passion for fort building, I mean permanent ones must be restrained. I believe there has also been a new one commenced on the Tom bigbee.4
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; ADf, James McHenry Papers, Library of Congress; copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. McHenry to James Wilkinson, March 22, 1797 (copy, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress). This letter was enclosed in McHenry to H, October 4, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume).
2. Copies, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress. These letters were enclosed in McHenry to H, October 4, 1799 (listed in the appendix to this volume). McHenry had also sent to H on February 4, 1799, a copy of his letter to Wilkinson of January 31, 1799.
3. This is a reference to Section 1 of “An Act making appropriations for the Military establishment, for the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight; and for other purposes” (1 Stat. description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, I (Boston, 1845); II (Boston, 1850). description ends 564 [June 12, 1798]).
4. Fort Saint Stephens was on the Tombigbee River about one hundred and forty miles southwest of what is now Montgomery, Alabama.