Signed Manuscript Giving Official Notice of the United States Entering the Credit Markets

Signed by Alexander Dallas

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DALLAS, A[LEXANDER] J. (1759-1817). United States secretary of the treasury and acting secretary of war under President James Madison. MsS. (“A.J. Dallas”). 2pp. 4to. Washington, November 15, 1814. Draft manuscript of a notice submitted to The National Intelligencer and published “by direction of the treasury of the United States, in the National Intelligencer of the 17th November, 1814.”

Notice

Treasury Department

Nov. 15, 1814

In pursuance of powers which have been duly vested in the Secretary of the Treasury, under an act of Congress entitled ‘An act to approve a loan for a sum not exceeding three millions of dollars,’ approved by the President of the United States, this 15th day of November, proposals will be received by the Secretary of the Treasury from this time until the first day of January next, and each proposal will be decided on, as soon as it is received, and immediate notice of the decision given, for a loan to the United States of the sum of three millions of dollars, or any part thereof on the following terms and in the following manner:

1. For the amount loaned, stock will be issued when the instalments are completed bearing interest at six percent per annum, payable quarter-yearly. The stock will be reimbursable at the pleasure of the United States, at any time after twelve years from the 31st day of December next: and the Sinking Fund is charged with the payment of the interest and the reimbursement of the principal, according to the contract.

2. The proposals must state the amount to be loaned, the rate at which the stock will be received, the instalments in which the party will make the payment, and the bank in which the payments are to be made.

3. The payment will be received either in money or in approved bank notes, or in Treasury notes due on or before the 1st of January next, at their par value, with the interest thereon accrued at the time of payment. But on failure to pay any instalment at the time stipulated the next preceding instalment shall be forfeited for the use of the United States.

4. Scrip certificates will be issued by the cashiers of the banks where the payments shall be made to the persons making the payments; the cashiers will also indorse the payment of the successive instalments; and will be funded at the loan office of the State in which the bank is situated, where the payments have been made.

Secretary of the Treasury

A.J. Dallas”

Portrait of Dallas as Secretary of the Treasury

Born in Jamaica and educated in Great Britain, Dallas practiced law in Philadelphia while simultaneously editing the Pennsylvania Herald and Columbian Magazine. He was the first to report on Supreme Court decisions when the court operated in Philadelphia, and from 1791 to 1801 he was secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, taking on increasing responsibilities when the alcoholic governor Thomas Mifflin was incapacitated. In October 1814, Dallas became the sixth secretary of the treasury, having helped his friend Albert Gallatin, the fourth treasury secretary, fund the War of 1812.

When Dallas accepted the position, the government’s fiscal stability was unstable. Nearly bankrupt by the war, it had been forced to sell bonds that offered exorbitant interest rates. Dallas restored the government’s credit while reorganizing the treasury department. Among his reforms was the return of the United States to a specie system based on gold and silver. He remained secretary of treasury for only two years but continued to serve as acting secretary of war and state in 1815.

Our manuscript was penned a month after he took over the treasury department. Published in full in Reports from the Court of Claims: Submitted to the House of Representatives, with the note from the publisher of The National Intelligencer about its November 17 inclusion in the newspaper, which was the dominant periodical in Washington during most of the 19th century. Lightly folded and foxed and in fine condition.


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