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U.S. Secretary of the Treasury pens a letter regarding the use of his land
Autograph Letter Signed: "A.J. Dallas", 1¼p, 5x7¾, conjoined leaves (hinged to show both sides). No place, but probably Philadelphia, 1797 May 17. To W. Nicholson. Begins: "Sir". In full: "I requested Mr. Hale to apply to you for the use of your field adjoining to my house on Schuylkill upon condition that I should keep in repair the fences. He wrote me an answer in these words 'Agreeably to you request I called on Mr. Nicholson to rent the land adjoining your seat near the Falls, and have got it for you on your own terms, you to deliver the possession on two month's notice.' I accordingly put the fences in order, and put the ground with my own garden on certain terms under the care of a tenant, who has sowed a part of the crops, etc. I have just been informed, that you have sent to take possession of the field, without any previous notice. I am persuaded there is some mistake in this possession, and beg for an explanation." Alexander James Dallas (1759-1817), who had been born in Jamaica, was Madison's U.S. Secretary of the Treasury (1814-1816) and Acting Secretary of War in 1815. Facing a treasury depleted as a result of the War of 1812, Dallas was instrumental in the establishment of the Second Bank of the United States, chartered by Congress in 1816. At the time of this letter, Dallas, a prominent Philadelphia attorney, was Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1791-1801). He was then appointed as U.S. District Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania by President Jefferson (1801 until his appointment to Madison's Cabinet). Docketed (unknown hand) at upper margin of address leaf. Lightly creased with folds, not at signature. Lightly soiled, shaded at mid-vertical fold. Chipped at upper margin at mid-vertical fold and at blank edge of integral leaf. Paper clip impression at upper blank margin of first page, which has stray ink mark at upper margin. Writing crossed out on integral leaf. Overall, fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 29¼x21½.

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Born: June 21, 1759 in Kingston, Jamaica
Died: January 16, 1817 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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