James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander J. Dallas, 29 May 1815

Department of War 29th. May 1815.

The Acting Secretary of War has the honor to report to the President of the United States,

That during the late War, Contracts were made by the Ordnance Department for procuring among other munitions of War very large supplies of Gun powder, in addition to a considerable quantity previously deposited in the public magazines. That on the proclamation of peace, immediate measures were taken, under the authority of this Department, to cancel some of those Contracts, or to suspend the execution of them, so as to spare the heavy disbursments which they required at the Treasury, and to render the appropriations for the War Department more adequate to the essential objects of public service. That the measures thus taken have not, however, been successful; there has been received into the public magazines the quantity of [  ] of Gun-powder; and there yet remains to be received under the exciting Contracts a quantity of [  ] making together the gross quantity of [  ] far exceeding any probable demand for a considerable period of time, during which the Gun-powder will be exposed to various accidents.

And the Acting Secretary of War has the honor further to report, that several of the specific appropriations for the War Department are nearly exhausted, without accomplishing the objects for which they were made. That the public credit, as well as the public Service, requires that the appropriations should be so marshalled, under the authority of the Act of the third of March 1809, as to supply the deficiency of some of them, from the excess of others. And that; in particular, the appropriation for the Ordnance branch of service, may be made to contribute, with great advantage, to the expenditures for subsistence, Pay, and the Quarter Masters Department.

And the Acting Secretary of War has the honor further to report, that the market price of Gun-powder is higher, than the Contract price, at which the Gun-powder has been delivered at the public magazines; that a Sale of [  ] weight may be made with great public utility and convenience; and that, therefore, he prays the authority of the President of the United States for making such Sale, passing the proceeds to the Credit of the appropriations for the Ordnance Department.

All which is respectfully submitted.

A. J. Dallas
Acting Secretary of War

DNA: RG 107—LRRS—Letters Received by the Secretary of War, Registered Series.

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