James Madison Papers

Henry M. Morfit to James Madison, 22 January 1834

Washington City 22 Jan’y 1834

Dear Sir

Mr Robert C Jennings in whose behalf I am engaged about the Settlement of his accounts with the General Government informs me that he lately had the pleasure of seeing you partly for the purpose of obtaining any information that might aid him in his demands. He also says that he left a copy of Genl Armstrong’s evidence which he is desirous you should review and begs you would add such information on it as you can. The object of this is to ask you to do Mr Jennings that favour as early as convenient as he is about to take up his claims for examination and will find much service in any thing you can say in his favour.

The first point in Genl Armstrongs Letter of 1 Sept 1833 a copy of which you have, relates to the fact that in 1813 14 Mr Jennings made advances of money in furtherance of the public Service to a large extent: for which he was paid in Treasury notes with the understanding that he was to be allowed the discount at the place of disbursement

The 2nd point is—that it became necessary to establish a Commissariat Dept for the Southern Dist which was placed under the Superintendance of Mr Jennings with authority to provide Store Houses for the Safe Keeping of the Articles purchased and agents for the Subsequent distribution That these Services and expenditures were of course not to be taken as gratuitous but to be paid for by such allowances as would be proper and according to the usages of the Department

The third is about the loss which Mr Jennings experienced by an additional excise on whiskey immediately after he had entered into the Contract with the Government & which he could not resist at the time.

There is also another Subject which interests Mr Jennings very much and that is a claim for compensation for having acted as agent for the Pay Masters Dept in raising money in advance upon his own drafts and on his own credit This was a separate matter entirely from either his efforts as a Commissary or his duties as a Contractor and for which he has never received any allowance commission or otherwise

The Copy of a certificate from the Pay Masters Dept which I now inclose will show how and to what extent those advances were made in that branch of the Government and he will be obliged to rely on you for some Support for compensation on this score, as he has nothing but the bare fact of his having made the advances—to show, and left the remuneration then as he still must leave it, to be stated by those who were privy to the transactions

The claim under this head would involve three items

First the pay he is entitled to as agent in those transactions for the Pay Masters Dept.

secondly. The Bank discount on his own drafts which he negotiated to raise the money.


Thirdly, The allowance for the depreciation of the Treasury notes which he rec’d for his dfts, at the place of disbursement

Mr Jennings desires me respectfully and with the kindest feelings to express his regret at being obliged to trouble you but as he relies upon your remembrance of the events connected with those matters and the friendship produced by the intercourse growing out of those troublesome times, he is induced to trespass on your time and attention

If not too tedious for you it will be desirable for Mr Jennings to receive your remarks in the order in which the several Subjects are here presented

Though not having the pleasure of knowing you personally, I am well acquainted with your valuable services to our common Country and beg leave to add my own wishes to the many that are often offered by our citizens for a continuance of your health while here, and your happiness hereafter. With great respect your obt sert

Henry M Morfit

RC, enclosing a document re government claim of Robert C. Jennings (DLC).

Index Entries