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Permanent Fortifications Require the Sanction of the President

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionPrinted Version only view image
PublicationSyrett, Harold C., ed. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 Vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-87. (no image)
Document Information
Date November 12, 1799
Author Name Alexander Hamilton (primary) Location: New York
Recipient Name James McHenry (primary)
Summary Hamilton espouses to McHenry the general principle that permanent fortifications, and the expenses attached, should not be undertaken without the sanction of the Executive. He stesses that he has never violated this principle but exigencies in the field, such as those faced by General Wilkinson, might require that it be temporarily ignored.
Document Format Autograph Draft
Document Notes Cited in McHenry to Hamilton, 11/20/1799.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups James McHenry; Alexander Hamilton; the Executive [John Adams]; General Wilkinson; Commander in Chief [Washington]; the President [Adams]; military commanders; Indians; ;
Related Places New York;
Keywords permanent fortifications; expenses; sanction of the Executive; establishing an important barrier post; scrupulous ideas of economy in national affairs; disbursements; laws of appropriation; legislative sanction and provision; fruits of past expense; ;
Key Phrases I cannot but believe that I have acted with all proper delicacy and caution; In the course of military operations, measures which involve very great expense are frequently indispensable without incurring the dealy of resorting to the executive as a preliminary; I would rather be responsible on proper occasions for formal deviations than for a feeble, insufficient, and unprosperous course of public business proceeding from an over-scrupulous adherence to general rules; I shall take care that such a communication be made to General Wilkinson as there may be no danger in the future of his undertaking a permanent fortification without the previous approbation of the Executive;

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