To James W. Ripley

Executive Mansion, Washington, April 23, 1862.

It is said that in the case of the contract of S. Dingee & Co. in relation to arms a dispute has arisen as to the proper construction of a clause in an order signed by me, which clause is in these words: “and that all not conforming thereto” (the contract) “be appraised by the ordnance officer at New York, and received at such price as he may determine.”

This order was prepared with reference to a definite number of arms expected to be delivered within a definite time, and not in reference to an indefinite number to be delivered in an indefinite time. I certainly did not expect that under the clause in question a lot of guns would be appraised at one price at one time, and another lot of precisely the same quality appraised at different prices at another time. I expected that when under the clause the price of a particular quality of gun was fixed it would stand throughout the transaction, neither going down or up. I still think this is the just construction. A. LINCOLN.

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