Wednesday 17th. The Secretary attending; and reference being had to the Act constituting the Department of War, and the Act appropriating 20,000 dollrs. for the expence of Treating with the Southern Indians, seeming to remove (at least in a degree) the above doubts but not in an unequivocal manner, I desired him to take the opinion of the Chief Justice of the United States and that of the Secretary of the Treasury on these points and let me know the result.
“An Act to establish an Executive Department, to be denominated the Department of War” (1 STAT. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 49–50 [7 Aug. 1789]) provided that the secretary of war could carry out such tasks regarding Indian affairs as might be entrusted to him by the president. “An Act providing for the Expenses which may attend Negotiations or Treaties with the Indian Tribes, and the appointment of Commissioners for managing the same” (1 STAT. description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends 54 [20 Aug. 1789]) authorized expenditure of “a sum not exceeding twenty thousand dollars, arising from the duties on imports and tonnage” for the purpose of “defraying the expense of negotiating and treating with the Indian tribes.”