Navy Department 22 febry. 1809
The Act intituled “An Act for procuring an additional number of Arms, and for the purchase of salt petre & sulphur” passed 11 March 1808— appropriates “for the purchase of salt petre & sulphur” 150,000 dollars—
During the session of 1808, I received from genl Smith, chairman of a committee of the Senate, a letter asking information as to the additional quantity of salt petre & sulphur which it might be expedient to provide for the Navy service—In answer to this letter, I recommended the providing an additional stock of
500,000 lbs. of salt petre & 150,000 lbs. of sulphur—and shortly after this communication the Act in question was passed. Hence I inferred that the appropriation of 150,000$, which is about the sum required for the purchase of the salt petre & sulphur above stated, was intended for the navy service entirely—and was to be considered as a navy appropriation—
Under this impression I had the honor during the last summer of submitting to your consideration, the proposals of Doct. Hunter of Philadelphia, for supplying 500,000 lbs. of refined petre @ 25 cents lb—and Doct. Hunter’s proposals having been approved by you, our navy agent at Philaa was instructed to close & accordingly did close a contract with Doct. Hunter for the delivery of 500,000 lbs. of refined Salt petre—
The amount of this contract is $125000—the contingent expences attending it may amount to 8000$—this leaves of the appropriation of 150,000$, a balance of 17000$—
Whether this balance of 17000$ shall be applied to the purchase of sulphur, is with you now to determine—The Navy Department may want an additional stock of this article—
I have the honor to be with great respect, sir, yr. mo. obt. servt.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.