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To James Madison from Richard Rush, 2 July 1814

From Richard Rush

Washington July 2. 1814.

The attorney general has the honor to return to the President the papers put into his hands yesterday relative to the case of Colonel Dennis.1

On examining them the attorney general is of opinion, that, whatever equity they hold out, the executive authority is not competent to afford relief against the hardship stated, congress alone having powers adequate to that effect.

RC and enclosures (PHi: Richard Rush Papers). For enclosures, see n. 1.

1Rush returned a 27 June 1814 letter from Col. Richard Dennis to Treasury Secretary George W. Campbell (2 pp.), stating that Dennis had been surety for Capt. James Wheelan, owners of the brig Sea Nymph and part owner of its cargo, who along with the other owners of the cargo had been penalized “for an alleged violation of the non intercourse law.” JM remitted part of the penalty, but Wheelan was then lost at sea and Dennis’s co-surety went bankrupt, leaving Dennis responsible for Wheelan’s share of the remainder. Dennis requested that this portion of the penalty be remitted as well. He enclosed a 21 June 1814 letter to Campbell from Joseph Clark and Robert Imlay (2 pp.), part owners of the Sea Nymph’s cargo, asking that the penalty “be remitted altogether” for Dennis. Rush also returned Campbell’s 28 June 1814 reply to Dennis (1 p.), stating that as secretary of the Treasury he was not at liberty to revise previous decisions on the matter, that even JM probably could not do so, and that in such case Dennis must apply to Congress for relief; and Dennis to JM, 29 June 1814 (1 p.), submitting his request to JM and enclosing his 27 June 1814 letter to Campbell.

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