James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Elias Boudinot, 7 December 1804

From Elias Boudinot

Mint of the united States Decr. 7. 1804


When I came to the Directorship of the Mint, I found a large Frame Building, containing a very large Furnace, built at the Extremity of Sixth Street in this City,1 on a Lott of Mr. Penn’s with the Consent of his Agent2 without rent, which I was informed was absolutely necessary for conducting the Business of the Mint.

This appeared to me, a very expensive establishment; but submitted to it as a Case of necessity. On a further acquaintance with the Department,3 and on making some new Arrangements, I was happy to find that it was wholly unnecessary, and have for some years, improved4 it merely as a Store House for Coal &c.

It is now in want of repair, which cannot be done without considerable expence. The Use of it, is not worth the repairs, and we ar⟨e⟩ now called upon to remove it, or submit to a reasonable rent for the Lotts. I submit it therefore to the Consideration of the President, to have the Iron, of which there is a considerable quantity, round the Furnace, taken for the use of the Mint, and the ruins of the House sold at public auction, for the benefit of the Mint.5 They will bring, perhaps, two or three hundred Dollar⟨s⟩ which will be so much saved to the united States. I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your very Hble Servt

Elias Boudinot D M

RC (DNA: RG 59, ML); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 104, Domestic Letters and Statements of Mint); letterbook copy (DNA: RG 104, Letters Sent by Director of Mint, vol. 1). RC docketed by Wagner as received 10 Dec. A 10 Dec. 1804 note by Jefferson on the verso of the RC reads: “we had better refer this to the discretion of the Director who being on the spot is the best judge.”

1In place of the preceding clause, both letterbook copies read: “built at the skirts of the Town.”

2Edmund Physick was the agent for the property, which was owned by the Penn Estate and located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia (Frank H. Stewart, History of the First United States Mint, Its People, and Its Operations [Camden, N.J., 1924], 29).

3Both letterbook copies read “Coinage department.”

4Both letterbook copies have “made use of” in place of “improved.”

5On 10 Dec. JM wrote Boudinot: “I have had the honor to lay your letter of the 7th. inst., before the President of the United States, who thinks it proper to leave the disposal of the framed buildings and furnace to your discretion, for the best interest of the public” (DNA: RG 59, DL, vol. 14).

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