James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Simon Snyder, 10 May 1813

From Simon Snyder

Harrisburg 10th. May 1813.


I hasten to forward to you a Copy of a resolution of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia and a Copy also of a letter, to me by a Committee for that purpose appointed by those bodies;1 from which, as also from a resolve by the latter (published in the Democratic press of Friday last) contemplating the appropriation of $30,000, out of the City fund for defence,2 it would appear that an alarm ⟨of⟩ ⟨a⟩ very serious nature, prevails at this time⟨,⟩ ⟨a⟩t that place, founded as it is stated on the defenceless sta⟨te⟩ of the Delaware.

Permit me Sir, to their request to add mine also, that such immediate measures may be taken on the waters of the Delaware, and preparatory measures for defence by land, as will by their efficiency inspire the inhabitants of that imp⟨o⟩rtant place, with the confidence of being fully prepared to repel any invading foe, that shall have the temerity, to invade our property.

To any orders you may deem necessary to give, requiring my aid in their execution, I promise the most prompt attention. Sincerely and very respectfully Your obt. Servt.

Simon Snyder

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, S–201:7); letterbook copy (PHarH). RC docketed as received in the War Department in May 1813. Torn; words and parts of words in angle brackets supplied from the letterbook copy. Minor differences between the copies have not been noted. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1The resolution (1 p.) forwarded by Snyder appointed a committee to request that he “communicate to the Executive of the United States, the absolute necessity of more efficient measures of defence being provided against the enemy blockading the River Delaware.” The letter making that request (2 pp.) stated that the river was not only blockaded by large ships but “infested with a number of tenders and small craft, who take and destroy all the vessels employed in transporting lumber and fuel to the City.” This situation would “soon operate with great severity on the poorer classes of society.” “A few small armed vessels” could drive the British from the river, but U.S. gunboats were “laying useless at the Navy Yard.” In addition, the letter advised, more and better troops should be stationed at Fort Mifflin.

2The Philadelphia Democratic Press of 7 May 1813 announced that “The Common Council of this city last evening passed an Ordinance to levy a tax of $30,000 for the defence of the city and vicinity and authorising the Mayor to borrow the money in anticipation of the collection of the Tax.”

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