Rufus Easton to Moses Austin, 11-18-1814

Summary: Asks for detailed report on lead mining and smelting to guide him in preparing legislation for Congress. Banking and confusion of the currency.

Washington Novr 18th 1814

Dear Sir,

I am anxious to obtain and as soon as possible all the information which can be had in relation to the lead mines—and I know of no person better able to give correct information on the subject [than] yourself—any ideas you may think proper to communicate as to the manner of leasing the public mineral lands will be very acceptable to me—

I wish to be informed as to the present prices given for mineral— the profits to be derived from smelting—the probable revenue to be derived to the United States from leasing—what the prices of mineral lead were before and since the war—go into as much detail in your communication as you can find it convenient to make—

The house of Representatives are now engaged in discussing the Bill for the establishment of a national bank—to revive the public credit which at present appears to be at a low ebb— As soon as the fiscal concerns are accomplished we may expect immediate provisions in detail for raising an army as I hope sufficient to expel entirely the British from the Continent and to coerce the Indians to friendly intercourse and [mutilated] us— I think Mr. Munroes first plan [an] admirable one— By reading the [debates] of congress some of which I shall send you on the subject of the Bank [you] will better discover the state and condition of the Banks on this side of the mountains —than I can inform you by letter Suffice it to say in this place you cannot get a picaun in silver and bills for one cent are in circulation No one bank will receive the paper of another without a discount of from 10 to 12 per cent.—

I had not arrived when the first section of the Bill to incorporate the U. S. bank was under consideration in committee of the whole— The territories had all been omitted I succeeded to day in one amendment authorising the directors to establish offices where soever they shall think fit in the territories for the purposes of discount deposit and distribution—and think it would be much better if they were compelled by the law to establish one such office in each state and territory whenever a certain amount of the capital stock should be subscribed in such state or territory— the object would be to prevent the specie from going out of the State into the Mother Bank at Philadelphia—but you might as well kick agt the pricks as to attempt it— It will however be strongly urged I suspect— I shall try to [have the] first section so amended as to have [offices?] for subscription opened within our territory— Write me often your ideas [on] these and other subjects which may occur

R Easton [Rubric]

Be pleased to present my best respects to Mrs Austin and Mr. and Mrs. Bryan and to Stephen

I send you a Bank bill for five Cents.—

[Addressed:] Moses Austin Esquire Post Master Mine Potosi Washington County Missouri Territory