James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander James Dallas, July 1816

ca. July 1816

Dear Sir

Upon reflection, I think it best to proceed with the Circular to the State Banks, and to issue the Notes, for the payment of the Treasury Notes, which are due in New-York. I ought not to anticipate a failure in the revenue, by the delinquency of the merchants; nor can I perceive any power in the Treasury Department to interfere for their relief. The case is not at all, like the case of a dispersion of the Citizens by pestilence; when the exercise of a reasonable discretion, to suspend the collection of duties, might be excused. The question, at present, arises on the power to suspend the collection of the duties, in a particular city, to Save the Merchants, who have over-traded, from a sacrafice of property. Congress might deem it expedient to grant such a power, but certainly it does not exist; and, indeed, the only instances of legislative interposition, are those, where a particular district has suffered from Storms, or conflagrations. Whatever should be done for New-York, would Soon be claimed for every other place, to the total Sequestration of the revenues of the Treasury.

The Act of the 27. of April 1816 provides for laying out a road from Shawnee town to the U S. Saline and to Kaskaskia, in the Illinois territory; and I inclose a recommendation of Commissioners to be appointed for the Service. I am, Dear Sir, most respectfully & faithfully, yr. obed Servt.

A. J. Dallas

DLC: Papers of James Madison.

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