James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from Albert Gallatin, 8 February 1811 (Abstract)

§ From Albert Gallatin

8 February 1811, Treasury Department. Transmits in compliance with the Senate resolution of 7 Feb.1 a copy of George W. Erving’s account in relation to awards under article 7 of the British treaty. A commission of 2½ percent is being charged on £217,009 3s. 9d., this being the amount Erving received for claimants who had not appointed agents to prosecute their claims and receive the awards.2 The accounts, which have passed the offices of the auditor and comptroller, are voluminous and “correct in every respect.” Another account of Erving’s for over £55,000 is not sent as it is not finalized and no commission is being charged on it. That sum consists of deductions the commissioners made from the awards in order to reimburse the U.S. for expenses incurred in prosecuting the claims. Part of this was applied by Erving to discharge proctors’ accounts for which the U.S. had become responsible, and the balance (over $160,000) was paid by him into the treasury. The president should have deducted Erving’s compensation from this fund, but instead the unexpended balance was applied to the surplus fund, making a new appropriation necessary to settle the account and repay the award fund. Adds that the Treasury Department has no information respecting Erving’s services other than what is in the accounts and enclosed letter and that the services were performed in accordance with instructions.

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 11A-E4). RC 2 pp. For enclosures, see n. 2. JM forwarded the RC and enclosures to the Senate in his message of 11 Feb. 1811. Printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Finance, 2:484–86.

1On 7 Feb. 1811 the Senate had approved a resolution proposed by Jesse Franklin of North Carolina requesting JM to forward such information as he possessed on the accounts of Erving “for his services and compensation for attending the Board of Commissioners” established under article 7 of the 1794 Jay treaty with Great Britain (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 11th Cong., 3d sess., 128).

2Gallatin enclosed a copy of Erving’s account with the U.S. “in relation to Awards under the 7th Article of the British Treaty,” dated 24 Sept. 1808 at the auditor’s office, 30 Sept. 1808 at the comptroller’s office, and 7 Nov. 1810 at the Treasury Department (one large folio page). The account shows a balance of $22,392.67 claimed by Erving for his commission “but which cannot be allowed until duly Authorized.” On 1 Dec. 1810 Robert Smith endorsed the account: “The above balance heretofore suspended is to be admitted to Mr. Ervings credit.” Accompanying the account is a 25 Nov. 1810 letter from Erving to Robert Smith (5 pp.), explaining that he had been authorized to retain the sum of $22,392.67 for his services by charging 2½ percent of the sums paid to him as agent for claims to compensate him for his extraconsular duties while he was in London. This letter included an extract from an “order the Secretary of State wrote to [Erving], in the month of November, 1805,” authorizing the retention of the commission after JM had laid before the president representations Erving had made to him on the subject in 1804.

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