James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Albert Gallatin, [9 May] 1813

From Albert Gallatin

[9 May 1813]

Govr. Tompkins, at the request of the general Govt., called into service detachments of militia to assist in carrying the embargo into effect along the lakes. He also organised at the request of Gen. Dearborne & Wilkinson the regulars on the same service. In fact he alone did all that was done on that occasion & even advanced money.

I understand that his accounts are suspended because he cannot produce the receipts of all the privates, but only those of the officers who acted as pay-masters. An adherence to this rule in this case not only appears unjust, but will disgust & prevent exertions which may very soon be called for by Govt.

—A. G.

It is true that we have stripped N. York of seamen for the lakes. This may at once be supplied by ordering all the gun boat seamen at Philada. to proceed by Trenton & N. Brunswick to N. York; which allowing 2 days march from Trenton to Brunswick (distance 26 miles) cannot take more than four days. At Philada. they are altogether useless, & do nothing but quarrelling with our collector.


I think it would have been better to give to the Commissary the transportation of the clothing to the armies.

It appears indispensible that there should be an instruction to the Regimental Quarter Masters for the safekeeping and distribution of the clothing & other articles intended for the Regiments respectively & not for the army generally.

The instructions for the Commissary’s department are not printed.1

RC (DLC). Undated; postmarked in Wilmington on 10 May. Docketed by JM, “Gallatin A. May 9 1813.” Date assigned on the basis of JM’s docket.

1These notes, perhaps written in response to last-minute queries from JM that have not been found, were Gallatin’s final communications with the president before sailing from Wilmington for Russia on 9 May. In the days before his departure, Gallatin engaged in a flurry of correspondence with the administration, which included a note to James Monroe of 4 May stating that Gallatin had just realized that he and James A. Bayard had as yet no letter of credence to Alexander I, and that their “introduction to Russia” would be “extremely awkward” without it (Papers of Gallatin [microfilm ed.], reel 26). JM and Monroe accordingly signed a letter of credence dated 6 May, which Monroe forwarded to Gallatin in his letter of the same date (ibid.). Gallatin replied on 8 May that he and Bayard had received “all the dispatches, instructions & letters which either you or we had thought necessary” (ibid.).

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