James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Cooper, 13 May 1801

To Richard Cooper

Department of State Washington
13th. May 1801


I have received your letter of the 25th. ult, and regret, that the state of preparations for the expedition to Lake Superior should produce inconvenience to the individuals you had engaged. The obvious construction of the resolution under which you have acted1 is conceived to have required the completion of the expedition within a limited time, viz before the end of the last session of Congress, and of course to forbid the exercise of powers given by it after that period: Hence a disagreeable state of things may be involved, as it respects your accountability for advances2 and the claims of the persons engaged under you. I do not wish you however to consider these reflections as expressive of the conclusive opinion of Government, that your actual expenditures will not be reimbursed; but they ought certainly to suggest the necessity of an endeavour, on your part, to reduce the claims originating in your arrangements for obtaining the information demanded by the Resolution, within as narrow a compass as possible. The stores and boat you may think it adviseable to sell to the best advantage, and I request you afterwards to furnish me a statement of your account and of all unsatisfied claims. I am very respectfully &c. &c.

(Signed)   James Madison

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