• President Madison's Treasury Secretary Seeks Contract With Bank of Pennsylvania

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    ALEXANDER JAMES DALLAS (June 21, 1759 - January 16, 1817) was U.S. Treasury Secretary under President James Madison.


    Dallas was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He married Arabella Maria Smith (1761-1837) of Pennsylvania. In 1780, they moved to Jamaica, where Maria’s health suffered leading them to move to Philadelphia in 1783.  He was admitted to the bar in 1785.  On the side, he edited the Pennsylvania Herald and the Columbian Magazine.


    Pennsylvania Gov. Thomas Mifflin named Dallas Secretary of the Commonwealth (1791-1801).  Mifflin was an alcoholic and Dallas functioned as de facto governor for much of the late 1790s.   Dallas helped found the Democratic-Republican Party in Pennsylvania and advocated a strict construction of the new Constitution.


    His friend Albert Gallatin was Secretary of the Treasury when the War of 1812 began.  Dallas helped him obtain funds to fight Britain.  The war nearly bankrupted the federal government by the time Dallas replaced Gallatin as Treasury Secretary.  Dallas reorganized the Treasury Department, brought the government back into surplus, championed the Second Bank of the United States and put the nation back on the specie system based on gold and silver.  From March 2, 1815 to August 1, 1815, Dallas was acting Secretary of War and, for a time that year, was acting Secretary of State as well.


    Offering a one-page, ALS, from the Treasury Department on May 31, 1816, to Jonathan Smith, Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 


    “In order to make the Treasury to carry into effect a contract, I require you to state, what was the price…per cent stock at Philadelphia, on the 3d of March, 1815 upon actual sales.  Be as good as to accompany your statement with a Certificate…


    “I am very respectfully,




    “Your obed’ Svt,


    “A.J. Dallas.


    “Jona. Smith, Esq.


    “Cashier of the Bank of Pennsylvania




    Folds, light toning and few margin chips. Else very strong.


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