James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Eustis, 2 June 1809

From William Eustis

War Department June 2. 1809.


In obedience to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 27th. of May requesting the President of the United States to cause the Secretary of War to lay before the house an estimate of the sums necessary to compleat the fortifications commenced or contemplated, and also the amount of any deficiency of former appropriations for this object, I have the honor to state

That of the $450,000 appropriated by the Act of February the 10th. 1809 there are expended $265,000 leaving a ballance of $185,000.1

The difficulty of forming a correct opinion of the sums which will be required for each work must be obvious from the nature and extent of the business and from the deficiency of all former calculations and estimates. From the best judgment which can be formed on the information and evidence in possession of this department, the sum of $750,000 in addition to the balance beforementioned, will be sufficient certainly to cover the expenditures of the present year, and most probably to compleat the system of defence contemplated by Government.

For the States East of New York 75 000
For the State of N. York 340,000
For the States South of N. York
including N. Orleans  335,000

With great respect I have the honor to be Sir, Yr Most obedt Servt.

W. Eustis

RC (DNA: RG 233, Legislative Proceedings); FC (PHi); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 107, Letters Sent to the President). Variations in the several texts not noted, except in n. 1. JM sent the report to the House of Representatives on 6 June (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 11th Cong., 1st sess., 231).

1The RC omits the next three sentences, which appear in both the FC and letterbook copy: “Had all the works been carried on, which had been commenced, the whole of this appropriation would at this time have probably been exhausted. But a conviction of its insufficiency to complete the whole, has caused a suspension of some works in the harbor of New York and in other places. In addition to this balance it is presumed that the following sums will be necessary to complete the fortifications commenced and contemplated.”

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