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[COPY] Report on the Petition of Stephen Moore

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionPrivate Collector: Private Collection view image
CollectionHandwritten Transcript only (no image)
CollectionPrinted Version only (no image)
PublicationSyrett, Harold C., ed. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 Vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961-87. (no image)
Document Information
Date June 3, 1790
Author Name Tench Coxe (primary) Location: Treasury Department
Recipient Name [not available]
Summary Refers to a petition by congressman Stephen Moore of North Carolina referred to Secretary of Treasury regarding land at West Point New York, where Moore owns some property. Cites the strategic value of West Point location on Hudson River; can be defended against a maritime power. Listed reasons to purchase land by government and permanently establishing military post at West Point for defensibility and as a communication post.
Document Format Copy of Signed Document
Document Notes Report given to House of Representatives
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Alexander Hamilton; Tench Cox; Stephen Moore; Secretary of Treasury; constructor; public; ;
Related Places Treasury Department; North Carolina; West Point; New York; Hudson; river; land; property; fortification; battery; Sandy Hook; ;
Keywords petition; copy; vessel; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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[stamped at left margin]Dr. Gary Milan1918 Coldwater Cyn. Dr.Beverly Hills, CA 90210(310)274-6644, Fax (310)265-9511
Copy Treasury Department - June 3d 1790
On the petition of Stephen Moore of the State of North Carolina referred to the Secretary of the Treasury by order of the house of Representatives of 20th May 1790
The said Secretary respectfully reports
That it is the opinion of the Secretary of the Department of War that it is expedient and necessary that the United States should retain and occupy West Point as a permament [sic] Military Post- The principal reasons for which opinion as stated by him in a report to Congress of 31st July 1786 and as follows:-
That in case of an invasion of any of the middle or Eastern States by a maritime power the possession of Hudson's River would be an object of the highest importance as well to the invader as the United States-
That the reciprocal communication of the resources of the eastern & middle states, so essential to a well combined resistance depends entirely on the Possession of the said River by the United States.
That West Point is of the most decisive importance to the defence of the said River for the following reasons-
1st The distance across the River is only about fourteen hundred feet, a less distance by far than at any other part-
2d The peculiar bend or turn of the River forming almost a re-entering angle -
3d The high banks on both sides of the River favourable for the construction of formidable Batteries-
4th The demonstrable practicability of having across the River a Chain or Chains at a spot where vessels in turning the Point invariably loose their rapidity and of course their force by which a chain at any other part of the River would be liable to be broken -
These circumstances combined render the passage of hostile Vessels by West Point impracticable -
That the fortifications of West Point and its dependancies are extremely difficult to be invested and besieged. This circumstance which greatly enhances the value of the place arises from the [undecipherable] & mountainous grounds and narrow passes which surround the Fortifications -
A regular siege of West Point properly garrisoned & furnished, would require a large Army, Vast warlike apparatus, and much time. The states therefore in its vicinnity would have sufficient time to draw forth their utmost force for its relief-
That however West Point may be regarded by some persons as an interior place yet the reverse is a fact as may be proved by a slight consideration of the facility with which it can be approached by water. It is [undecipherable] practicable for Vessels coming in from sea & arriving at Sandy hook at the close of the
day to reach West Point before the next morning. The navigation of the River is known to be so bold that the passage cond be easily performed during the night-
That the said Secretary of the Treasury impressed with a persuasion that the said opinion is well founded conceives it to be just and proper that a purchase should be made on account of the Unites States of so much of the tract of Land called West Point as shall be necessary for the purpose contemplated. And this for the following reasons
First that where the public safety requires the Permanent occupancy of the property of an individual for the public use it is just that compensation should be made for its intire Value either by purchase with [consent?] of Parties or by some equitable mode of appraisement -
Temporary or periodical compensations unless with the concurrence of the proprietor are liable to this objection, that they oblige the individual to content himself with less than the full use or Value of his property by sale or other ways as his interest or necessities may require--
Secondly - These temporary compensations for various obvious reasons, will be likely in the end to prove more expensive to the public than an absolute purchase in the first instance -
Therefore the said Secretary is of opinion that it will be advisable that provision should be made by Laws for the purchase of so much of the tract of land called West Point as shall be Judged requisite for the purpose of such Fortifications and Garrisons as may be necessary to the defence of the same -
All which is humbly submitted
The foregoing is a true copy of the report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the Petition of Mr. Stephen Moore engrossed in this office in order to be made to the honourable the House of Representatives of the United States tomorrow morning Witness my handTench CoxeAssistt Secy
Treasury DepartmentJune 3. 1790