Discussion of Condition of Military Stores in Rhode Island & Unauthorized Use of Powder

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionRhode Island Historical Society: Jeremiah Olney Papers view image
CollectionRhode Island Historical Society: Jeremiah Olney Papers (no image)
Transcribe this Document
Document Information
Date July 16, 1787
Author Name Jeremiah Olney (primary)
Recipient Name Henry Knox (primary)
Summary Encloses return of public stores deposited in Rhode Island. Discusses discrepancies between previous returns of stores and the ones just completed, also notes that much of the stores are in poor condition. Mentions unauthorized use of public powder.
Document Format Contemporary Copy of Letter
Document Notes Cited in Olney to Knox, 12/04/1787.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups Henry Knox; Jeremiah Olney; Major Josiah Flagg; Governor Bowen; Cincinnati; ;
Related Places Rhode Island; War Office; New York; public magazine; Providence; ;
Keywords return of public stores; settling his accounts; damages; defective; stores; pwoder; fixed ammunition; flannel; paper cartridges; salt; unfixed ammunition; canvas; rotten; loose grape; muskets; ammunition; return of military stores; heavy cannon; expenses; examination; vouchers; bills; 4th of July; Fourth of July; damaged powder; ;
Key Phrases expences attending the examination of the public stores in this state; vouchers I will produce as soon as I have it in my power to discharge the several bills; prevailed upon by a vote to deliver twenty four pounds of damaged powder from the public magazine for a federal discharge of cannon in honor of the day; confess I felt a delicacy in the matter; principle stores that are already damaged and still are wasting with time are the powder in barrels many of which appears to be in clumps & cakes; powder in the fixed ammunition is generally hard packed & in many instances the flannell & paper cartridges are destroyed by the salts; unfixed ammunition is likewise considerably damaged the canvas being in many instances rotten; ammunition taken out of the boxes and laid two days in the sun; in the examination there appeared so great a part defective and many articles almost or quite useless that I did not pretend except in a very few instances to note the good from bad; quality of the articles will always speak for themselves;
Transcription

[Note: Transcriptions are works in progress and maybe partial. Please help us correct any errors or omissions by signing up for a transcription account.]
(Copy)
Letter to Secretary at war
Inclosing a Return of public
stores Deposited in Rhode Island,
16th July 1787 —
as to the General
I have at last compleated the Return of the public stores deposited in this state, which I do myself the Honor to Inclose you. you will perceive a considerable difference between the present Return and that Signed by Majr Josiah Flagg as lodged in the War Office 2nd May 1785 - The Reasons that have occasioned the difference between the Two Returns I cannot ascertain, having very little knowledge of the Matter — must therefore beg leave to Refer you to Majr Flagg who informs me he intends going shortly to New York for the purpose of settling his accots with you- when I have no doubt he will give Satisfactory Reasons for the alterations existing between the Two Returns - as to the general State and Condition of the Stores I find they are in many Instances Dammaged more or less — in the Examonation there appeared so great a part Defective and many articles almost or quite useless that I did not pretend (Except in a very few Instances) to note the good from the bad in the Returns. however the quality of the articles will always speak for themselves, but the principle Stores of Vallue that are already Dammaged and still are wasting with time, are the powder in Barrels many of which appears to be in the Lumps & Cakes - also the powder in the fixed Ammunition is generally hard backed & in many Instances the Flannell and paper cartridges are destroyed by the salts - the unfixed Ammunition is likewise considerably dammaged the canvas being in many Instances Rotten - some five Rounds were quite useless which was broaken up and weighed off with the Loose grape --
The Musketts & many other articles of less Vallue considerably defective and Dammaged - I had all the Ammunition taken out of the Boxes and exposed two days to the sun - The powder in the casks was all trimed over - The Inclosed Return of the Military Stores claimed by the State has been delivered by Majr Flagg - Govr Bowen informed me there are besides those[/ins> some other heavy Cannon among the the public Stores, the property of this State, but Cannot ascertain the number at present -
The expences attending the Examonation of the public Stores in this State (Exclusive of my own time) amounts to 27 7590 Dollars as pr. Inclosed Estimate - the Vouchers I will produce as soon as I have it in my power to discharge the several bills which I am very anxious to do having pledged myself for the payment and given assurance that the money would be forwarded as soon as the Return should Reach the war office - I have devoted seventeen days close attention in compleating this business - for which time I Expect to be allowed Two Dollars per day as it really was attended with much care & trouble ^ of which I presume will appear to you a Reasonable Charge,^ and in future I shall Expect only the small sum of Eight dollars pmo. for haveing the Charge of the public stores.
The expense labor and Trouble in accomplishing this Business has been much more than I at first conceived - owing to the promiscuous order the stores were in when I began this Examonation - they are however ^at last^ assorted, counted & Regularly filed.
At the anniversary meeting of the Cincinnati of this State 4th July, I was prevailed upon by a vote of the Society to deliver Twenty four pounds of rummaged powder from the public magazine, for a forward discharge of Cannon in Honor of the day - but Sir (I must Confess I felt a Delicacy in the matter, as I hold Sacred the stores intrusted to me - however upon the
The Unanimous vote of the Society of combining with it the consideration & Importance of the day - were motives that induced me to Turn the Key - which I hope will meet your approbation - favourable opinion -
I have the Honor to be with great esteem
Sir
Your Most Obed Humble Servt
Jereh Olney

(Copy)
Letter to Secretary of War
Inclosing a Return of public
stores Deposited in Rhode Island,
16th July 1787
I have at last compleated the Return of the public stores deposited in this State, which I do myself the Honor to Inclose you: you will perceive a Considerable difference between the present Return and that Signed by Majr Josiah Flagg as lodged in the War Office 2nd May 1785.-- The Reasons [undecipherable] that have occasioned the difference between the Two Returns I cannot ascertain having very little knowledge of the Matter--must therefore beg leave to Refer you to Majr Flagg who informs me he intends going on shortly to New York for the purpose of Settling his accots with you--when I have no doubt he will give Satisfactory Reasons for the alterations existing between the Two Returns---as to the General [undecipherable] and condition of the Stores I find they are in many instances [undecipherable] more or less--& [undecipherable] in the Examonation of the [undecipherable] stores there appeared to great a part Defective and many articles almost are Quite useless that I did not pretend (except in a very few Instances) to note the Good from bad in the Returns, however the Quallity of the articles will always Speak for themselves upon my Further Examination, The principle Stores of Vallue that are already dammaged and still are wasting with time, are the powder in Barrels many of which appears to be in Lumps & Cakes, also the powder in the Fixed ammunition is generally hard packed & in many Instances the Flannell & paper Cartridges are destroyed by the Salts. The unfixed Ammunition is likewise Considerably dammaged the Canvas being in many Instances. Either some few Rounds were Quite useless which was broaken [undecipherable] and weighed off with the loose grape---
Then
The Musketts & There are many other articles of less Vallue [insert undecipherable] Considerably defective and Dammaged--- I had all the Ammunition taken out of the boxes and Exposed Two days to the Sun---The powder in Casks was all Turned over--- The Inclosed is a Return of the Millitary Stores Claimed by the State and has been delivered by Mayr Flagg-- Govr Bowen informs me there are beside those some other heavy Cannon among the the public Stores, the property of this State, but [undecipherable] Cannot ascertain the number at present---
The expences attending the Examonation of the publiuc Stores in this State (Exclusive of my own time) amounts to 27 75/90 Dollars as per [undecipherable] Inclosed Estimate. The Voucher I will produce as soon as I have it in my power to discharge the Several bills which I am very anxious to do having pledged myself for the payment and given assurance that the money would be forwarded as soon as this Return should Reached the war office -- I have also devoted Seventeen days close attention in compleating this business & for which time I Expect to be allowed Two Dollars per day as it Really was attended with much care labor & trouble & which I presume will appear to you a Reasonable Charge; and in future I shall Expect only the Small sum of Eight dollars pmo [per month] for haveing the charge of the public Stores--
The expence labor and Trouble in accomplishing this Business has been much more than I at first Conceived owing to the promiscuous order the Stores were in when I began the Examonation-- they are however at last assorted & Regularly filed--
At the anniversary making of the Cincinnati of this State 4th July I was prevailed upon by a Vote of the Society to deliver Twenty foure pounds of dammaged powder from this public magazine, for a [undecipherable] Discharge of Cannon in Honor of the day--but Sir I must confess I fell a Delicacy in the matter, as I hold Sacred the Stores Intrusted to me- however upon
the
The Unanimous vote of the Society & Combining with it the Consideration & Importance of the day--were motives that Induced me to Turn the Key--which I hope will meet your approbation--favourable opinion---
I have the Honor to be with great esteem
Sir
Your Most Obed. [undecipherable]
Jereh Olney