James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Benjamin Morgan, 4 January 1813

From Benjamin Morgan

New Orleans Jany 4th 1813


On the 21st of June last I received a letter from the Secretary of War informing me that I was appointed Deputy Commissary for this District and desiring If I accepted of the appointment to forward on my bond with two surities for the sum of ten thousand dollars for the faithful performance of my trust. Being assured by my Northern friends that our Country would be involved in War with Great Britain & willing to contribute my Services in the way they would be most useful to wit the Staff department I wrote to Mr Eustis on the 23d of June that I accepted and again on the 29th of the same month enclosing the Bond required and desiring he would send me instructions since which I have never receivd a line from him.

Early in the Month of August I was called upon by General Wilkinson to enter upon the duties of my office I began my purchases without hesitation seeing the Publick service required it altho without a Commission or Instructions. Early in November I receivd Instructions from Callender Irvine Esqr Commissary General with whom I have since Corresponded.

I trouble you with this detail to shew that the Secretary of War has by his inattention hazarded the Publick Interest in this quarter and placed me in a very unpleasant situation by Obliging me to Act without proper Authority or information or see the Service suffer And to solicit that you will cause a Commission to be sent me with directions from the War department to Act under the orders of & Account with the Commissary General in future If that is as I presume it must be the intention of the Government. I am with great respect Your Most Obt Servant

Benjn Morgan1

RC (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, M-21:7). Docketed as received in the War Department on 1 Feb. 1813.

1Benjamin Morgan (d. 1826) was appointed to the legislative council of the Orleans Territory in 1804 and in 1806 was a representative of Orleans County in the territorial legislature. He was one of the principal merchants of New Orleans, an alderman for the city from 1806 to 1811, and a director of the New Orleans Navigation Company and the New Orleans Insurance Company. He was appointed president of the New Orleans branch of the Bank of the United States in 1811 and president of the New Orleans branch of the Second Bank of the United States when it was established in 1816 (Van Horne, Papers of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, 3:120 n. 8).

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