Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1801: PLAN AT TIME OF BALLOTING FOR JEFFERSON AND BURR. COMMUNICATED TO NICHOLAS AND MR. JEFFERSON. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 1
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1801: PLAN AT TIME OF BALLOTING FOR JEFFERSON AND BURR. COMMUNICATED TO NICHOLAS AND MR. JEFFERSON. - Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 1 
The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols.
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PLAN AT TIME OF BALLOTING FOR JEFFERSON AND BURR. COMMUNICATED TO NICHOLAS AND MR. JEFFERSON.
Objects of the —.
1. To elect Mr. B.
2. To defeat the present election and order a new one.
3. To assume executive power during interregnum.
The first may be defeated by our own firmness. The second may be effected by them, either by passing a law or by depending on the present law and an election in December, and may, in either case, be defeated, if necessary, without any assumption of power on our part, by the next House of Representatives. For the new election cannot be completed and the votes counted except in presence of the House of Representatives. Congress must therefore be convened by themselves, in case of an immediate new election, or will be in session, of course, in December next, in case of an election taking its course without law. In either case, without any act of ours, the next House of Representatives shall be at liberty to act on the present election, if that mode is then thought the most eligible.
It is not, therefore, necessary for us to assume the executive power unless they shall assume it themselves.
The third will at best give them authority only till December next, and cannot secure to them the next election. It may be effected, 1, by law; 2, by Mr. Adams convening the Senate; or, 3, by the Senate convening themselves.
That they shall pass any law either on that subject or on a new election appears extremely improbable, because Mr. A. can gain nothing by it, and because, having fifty Republicans in the House against fifty-five Federalists, it is hardly to be supposed that we shall not be able to prevent the passage of any law; for those fifty-five include every doubtful man, such as Goode, Huger, &c. If they shall, however, pass a law, it will be by declaring that in any of the cases of vacancy in the office of President, Vice-President, President pro temp., and Speaker, contemplated by the Constitution, the Chief Justice, or any other officer designated by the law, shall act as President, which law would be constitutional.
But whether the assumption be made by law or without it, the act of the person designated by the law or of the President pro temp. assuming the power is clearly unconstitutional.
For the Constitution has not provided any mode by which the Presidential power can be exercised except in the specific cases of vacancy therein enumerated.
If they shall usurp, for unconstitutional assumption is usurpation, are we to submit or not?
Stronger reasons than any that have yet been suggested could [alone?] justify a total submission. Any assumption on their part is usurpation. Usurpation must be resisted by freemen whenever they have the power of resisting. To admit a contrary doctrine would justify submission in every case, and encourage usurpation for ever hereafter. The mode of resisting seems to be the only question. In those States where a majority of the people or all the branches of the State government may be determined to support the usurpation, the minority may submit for a while, because they are under actual coercion. In those States where we may act, supported by our State governments, we shall run no risk of civil war by refusing to obey only those acts which may flow from the usurper as President. Some delicate questions may, however, occur respecting the power of courts and of several officers; and many inconveniences must take place, even in the collection of duties and similar laws, for want of a power of removal, filling vacancies, etc. Yet the evils inseparable from an interregnum may, by wisdom in us and our State governments, be rendered preferable to those flowing from either total submission to usurpation on their part or from usurpation on our part.
And if we do not submit, how are we to act?
1. We may either merely refuse to submit, declaring that we consider the time that shall elapse till the next meeting of Congress as an interregnum; leaving the several Republican States to act either separately or jointly, according to circumstances, during the interval; suffering all laws which are not immediately connected with Presidential powers (such as collection of duties, payment of debt, &c.) to take their course; preventing every partial insurrection, or even individual act of resistance, except when supported by the laws of the particular State, and in opposition to any act flowing immediately from the person who shall have usurped; refusing to obey every order from the usurper, such as a call of militia, &c.; declaring our intention to have the usurper punished according to law as soon as regular government shall have been re-established, &c.
2. Or we may assume the executive power either by a joint act of the two candidates, or by the relinquishment of all claims by one of them. Considering that no final danger can result as relates to a new election, that the usurpation on their part will be temporary, and that the dangers of civil war, of the dissolution of the Union, or of the stab given to our republican institutions by any assumption of power on our part not strictly justified by the forms of our Constitution, are the greatest we have to apprehend; would it not be more prudent not to have resort to the last mode, provided the first shall be found practicable?
Outlines of our conduct.
1. Persevere in voting for Mr. J.
2. Use every endeavor to defeat any law on the subject.
3. Try to prevail on Mr. A. to refuse his assent to any such law, and not to call the Senate on any account if there shall be no choice by the House.
4. The Republican Senators to secede from any illegal meeting of the Senate, and to try to persuade Mr. F. also to secede, in case of no choice being made by the House.
5. To have a meeting, either self-created or of delegates appointed by the Legislatures of the Republican States, or only by the House of Representatives of those States where we have but one branch (viz., New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South Carolina), in order to form an uniform plan of acting both in relation to a new election and to the usurpation if attempted.
1. In relation to a new election, if it was to take place in December next, as it would secure us a fair election, we might let it take its course, and we might do the same even in case of an earlier one, provided the Senates of the four above-mentioned States agreed also to give us a fair one.
But in the contrary case, it should be necessary to protest against the same and to defeat it by an uniform plan, viz., the House of Representatives in the four States and the Legislatures of the other Republican States refusing to elect. In this case we might still leave it optional to the next House of Representatives of Congress either to act on the present election or to order a new one, according to circumstances. To collect information, and agree either in an acquiescence in or protest against the intended new election, would be the first object of the meeting.
2. The next object would be to agree on an uniform mode of resisting (not obeying) the orders of the usurper, and to discriminate between those and the laws which should be suffered to continue in operation.
N.B.—The meeting to be constituted and to act so as not to be considered as the result of an unconstitutional compact between the States.
6. To try to persuade Mr. A. to call Congress as early as possible in order to put an end to the interregnum, or to propose passing a law for that purpose.
7. To hasten the elections of Tennessee and Kentucky, so as to secure a meeting of Congress for 15th of May, if necessary.
8. To try to induce the Legislatures of New York and Pennsylvania, now in session, to pass laws for appointment of Electors, which should embrace the case of a special election earlier than December.
1. They persevere in voting for B., or, 2, give us but one ballot, which results in no choice being made.
1. We do not persevere in voting for J., or, 2, by persevering, no choice is made. The result is that, 1, either B. is elected, or, 2, that no choice is made by the present House. In the second alternative they may either pass no law and do no act whatever relative to the subject, or pass a law directing a new election on a day prior to 1st December, or pass a law vesting the Presidential powers in a certain designated officer, or pass both laws, or pass only the first law relative to election, and assume the Presidential powers during the interregnum without a law.
If they shall pass no law, which hypothesis rests on the supposition that Mr. Adams will not concur in any such law, they may either depend on the Secretary of State issuing a notification for an election on 1st December next, or only attach to us the stigma of partial usurpation, by compelling us to act in some one manner not contemplated by the Constitution, in order to make a choice.
Under every hypothesis except the last their objects are, 1, to have a new election; 2, to exercise the President’s powers during interregnum.
I. A new election. Whether they aim at it through the medium of a new law, or through a notification of the Secretary of State under the present law, two questions arise, viz.:
1. Ought we to submit? 2. If we do not submit, how can we repel it?
The dangers of submitting are:
1. The eventual loss of the Vice-President in a new election. 2. The risk of losing the election of President, by their fixing a period sufficiently early to prevent the effect of a renovation of the Senate in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and thereby possibly neutralizing the votes of those four States. 3. The reanimation of the hopes and exertions of the Federal party in some States, and despair of success on the part of the Republicans also in some States. 4. The stab given to the Constitution by establishing the principle that the House, in every case where a majority of nine States does not exist, may defeat the election and order a new one. 5. The possibility of a dissolution of the Union if the disfranchised States or any of them should, on that account, declare that they will not submit, it being highly probable that any large State adopting that determination would be supported by the Republican States not disfranchised.
In order to appreciate the dangers of not submitting, it is necessary to state the manner in which a new election may be repelled.
It can be done only by assuming the principle that the election is complete, and that the choice between the two persons elected, if not made by the present House, may be made, 1, either by the resignation (prior to choice) of one of the two persons, or, 2, by a subsequent House of Representatives.
The resignation may be either complete, by an abandonment of both offices, or partial, by supposing that, the two candidates having a right to make the selection of the two offices, if the House shall not do it, they may themselves decide which of the two shall be President and which Vice-President. The choice by a subsequent House may be either made by the House at their annual meeting, or by a special session.
A special session, unless convened by the present Congress or by Mr. Adams (both of which are improbable), can be convened only by the joint act of Messrs. J. and B. And that mode, as well as a resignation in either of the two ways above stated, is predicated on an assumption of executive power on our part, which is liable to two formidable objections:
1. Danger of dissolution of Union, should the Eastern States support the measures which might be adopted by the present Congress.
2. Even in case of complete success on our part, the immense danger which must result to our republican institutions generally from the principle of an assumption of power not strictly warranted by the forms and substance of our constitutions being adopted, and adopted by us in any one case.
The remedy is so dangerous that, unless the plan of a new election should be connected with usurpation of power during the interregnum, submission, with all its inconveniences, may, on cool reflection, be thought preferable.
On the other hand, to leave the choice to a subsequent House convened without any assumption of power on our part, may be a sufficient remedy in the case where they should attempt no usurpation. For, let them order a new election whenever they please, they cannot count the votes and complete the election without Congress being convened, and then the next House may act either on the new or on the present election.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, 14th March, 1801.
The weather having detained me here to-day, I have employed it in making some rough sketches relative to our financial situation, which I have the honor to enclose.
Independent of the uncertainty arising from the fluctuation in the amount of duties on imports, which vary so much as to have been two millions of dollars more in 1800 than the preceding year, I had neither time nor documents sufficient to give them even the degree of correctness of which estimates of that kind are susceptible.
No. 1 is an estimate of the probable receipts and expenditures for the year 1801, by which it would appear that we may have a surplus of above two millions of dollars applicable to the redemption of the debt. I am afraid that the revenue on imports is rated too high, although I have reduced it half a million less than last year, and it is not improbable that I may have supposed the savings for this year greater than will be found practicable. I find also a mistake of near one hundred thousand dollars in the marines, which arises from a part of the expenses of that corps being blended with the general navy appropriation.
But it is doubtful with me whether you have not a power, in laying up the frigates, to discharge a number of those marines, grounded on the 2d Section of the “Act for the establishing and organizing a marine corps.”—Sec. 4th, vol. NA, page 200, lines 3d and 4th.
The simplest way of applying the surplus, whatever it may be, is, after making necessary remittances to Holland for the purpose of discharging this and part of next year’s instalments, to pay a part of the debt due to the bank, which, by reducing the amount due to them, will enable them to assist us hereafter by temporary loans in equalizing the heavy instalments of the Dutch debt.
No. 2 is intended to show how far it will be necessary to reduce the naval and military establishments, in order to render a repeal of all the internal duties practicable, at the same time that we should apply one million yearly to the payment of the Dutch debt. That sum at least is necessary in order to discharge the whole within the period for which it was originally borrowed. The payment of the British debts is perhaps the most untoward circumstance, as the result on that subject is not under our own control. And if we shall be obliged actually to pay them, we must necessarily either redeem less debt or continue the internal duties.
It is proposed in that sketch to continue those duties for the year 1802, because it seems necessary that Congress should have authorized a reduction of expense, and the expense should have actually been diminished, before taxes can be lessened; and because the risk seems too great to part altogether with that resource before we have had the trial of another year.
No. 3 shows the present rate of expense for the army, and the intended plan of Mr. Stoddard for the future expense of the navy. Although I have taken the liberty of suggesting in what manner the reduction might take place, it was merely in order to illustrate my meaning. The most eligible mode of making the reduction, and of applying and distributing amongst the several objects appertaining to those establishments the sums which shall ultimately be applicable to that purpose, must be the result of a strict investigation by the gentlemen who understand the subject. All I wish to impress is the necessity of a great reduction there, if it be intended to repeal the internal duties. Savings in every department may be practicable, and must be attempted whenever practicable; but we can save but thousands in the other, and we may save hundreds of thousands in those two establishments. And that they are practicable to the extent proposed appears from this fact. In the year 1797 the military and Indian departments, including fortifications, &c., cost only one million and sixty-two thousand dollars, and the naval establishment three hundred and eighty-two thousand, in all one million four hundred and forty-four thousand dollars. The average of both for the years 1796 and 1797 was about one million and a half. The lowest expense for the civil list, miscellaneous and contingent, foreign intercourse, &c., was 1796, during which it amounted to nine hundred and sixty-eight thousand dollars. I have rated all those objects in No. 2 at only nine hundred thousand; which sum, unless the sessions of the Legislature shall be shorter, the Judiciary Act repealed, and the diplomatic and Barbary expenses curtailed, will not be sufficient.
I find that I have neglected another item of expense, viz., the repayment of the two hundred thousand dollars loan guaranteed to Maryland for this city, and which will become due in four equal instalments, if I recollect right, within two years. And it is also to be feared that the city will draw from Congress additional sums.
Excuse, I pray, the very great hurry with which these observations have been written, and believe me to be, with great and personal respect,
Your most obedient and humble servant.
P.S.—The subject of the purchase of the navy-yards seems to require attention. Is that at New York completed? and if the appropriation does not cover the purchases, is there no remedy against the agents? The appropriation of fifty thousand dollars for docks had not, on the 30th September last, been touched, and expired on the 31st December. The appropriation of two hundred thousand dollars was for timber, or lands on which timber was growing, and the President was, by the same law, authorized to cause proper measures to be taken to have the same preserved.
But the appropriation extended to the purchase of timber, and not to the expense attending those measures. Under color of that appropriation it appears that at least one hundred and eighty-six thousand eight hundred dollars have been applied to navy-yards, and the balance to frames for two additional 74’s. Mr. Stoddard in his report misquotes the words of the law, and calls it an appropriation for preparing proper places for securing the timber. I enclose the report.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Treasury Department, June 12, 1801
The complaints for want of stamps are certainly well grounded, yet difficult to remedy, at least by this Department. The fault has been in the original postponement of stamping, which has delayed every subsequent operation. They stamp here now at the rate of near twenty thousand impressions per day, but the distribution is slow. The stamps are sent from the Commissioner to the several supervisors, from each supervisor to the several inspectors in his district, from each inspector to the several collectors in his survey, from each collector to the storekeepers who may choose to purchase, and from them at last it is distributed to the consumers. The radical defect of our internal revenue system, and which I feel every day, pervades this as well as every other branch of that revenue. Instead of making the collectors account to and correspond with the Treasury Department, we know nothing of them except through the channel of the inspector, nothing of the inspectors except through the supervisors, and I know nothing of either except through the Commissioner of the Revenue.
As soon as I have got rid of the arrears of current business which had accumulated before my appointment, it is my intention to prepare and submit to you a plan tending to remedy that evil, so far as it can be remedied without the assistance of the Legislature.
In the mean while I have directed the Commissioner to write to Mr. Page, collector of internal revenue in Alexandria, that if he has not a sufficient supply of stamps, he may obtain any quantity and of any description by applying at the general office here.
What shows how much more proper it will be to open a correspondence direct with the collectors is, that Mr. Carrington, the supervisor, by his last return, dated 8th instant, states that he has in his possession by far too large a quantity of twenty-five cent stamps, and these are precisely those which are wanted by his collector in Alexandria. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir,
Your obedient servant.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
25th July, 1801.
The enclosed is the rough draft of a circular to the collectors, and is intended to correct several abuses which have crept in many ports. But it is submitted for the purpose of ascertaining whether it is proper to take this opportunity of communicating the sentiments expressed in the two last paragraphs marked* . In the first it is only intended to let them know that it is expected that they will, although Federal, divide the offices in their nomination, and which in the large ports are really numerous, influential, and sometimes lucrative. And it is supposed that there is no danger in avowing the sentiment that even at present, so far as respects subordinate officers, talent and integrity are to be the only qualifications for office. In the second paragraph, the idea intended to be conveyed is that an electioneering collector is commonly a bad officer as it relates to his official duties (which I do sincerely believe to be true), and that the principle of a corrupting official influence is rejected by the present Administration in its own support, and will not be forgiven where exercised against itself.
If it is thought better not to touch the subject, let both paragraphs be erased, as the first is introduced only as introductory to the other.
If it is thought proper to express at present and in this communication those or similar sentiments, it is my wish that the two paragraphs be modified and corrected both as to sense and style.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Washington, July 26, 1801.
I do not see sufficient reasons for preserving a revenue cutter at Charleston on a larger scale than elsewhere. I see no reason to expect pirates from St. Domingo, no instance of it having yet occurred; if there be any such danger, it is not peculiar to South Carolina, but threatens all the Southern States more or less according to their situation. If such danger should become imminent, it will behove us to furnish a more adequate defence: the revenue cutter, on its present plan, answers neither purpose well, either as a military or revenue instrument.
Mr. Madison happened to be with me when I opened your circular to the collectors. I approve so entirely of the two paragraphs on the participation of office and electioneering activity, that on the latter subject I proposed very early to issue a proclamation, but was restrained by some particular considerations; with respect to the former, we both thought it better to be kept back till the New Haven remonstrance and answer have got into possession of the public; and then that it should go further and require an equilibrium to be first produced by exchanging one-half of their subordinates, after which talents and worth alone to be inquired into in the case of new vacancies. Whenever, from observing appearances after the New Haven papers have got abroad, you shall think the public mind in a proper state for this reformation, you will be so good as to send out a circular, either with or without previous communication to me. Health and affectionate respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
City ofWashington, 10th August, 1801.
I have the honor to enclose the following papers, viz.: 1st. Extract of a letter from the collector of Sag Harbor, Long Island, on the application of hospital money. The same complaints have occasionally been made by other collectors in those small ports from whence the money has heretofore been drawn to the principal port. It might be a good rule to permit the collectors of those small ports to expend, when necessary, a sum not exceeding one-half of the moneys there collected, reserving the other half to assist the ports of the same State, when from any extraordinary cause the expense would be greater in any one year than the receipts, to purchase stock or to erect hospitals. But, as mentioned in a former letter, an exception is necessary in relation to Charleston, South Carolina, and principally Norfolk, on account of the public hospital there. I have as yet no answer to the permission requested to apply in relation to those two ports part of money collected in the adjoining States.
2d. Mr. Page’s letter recommending Mount Ed. Chisman for collector of Hampton instead of William Kerby, to be removed for delinquency, as per your answer to my official report on that subject. Two months have elapsed since I had applied to Mr. Page for a recommendation, and if you approve, one of the blank commissions may be filled accordingly.
3d. George Jackson’s, of Georgia, recommendation in favor of T. De Mottos Johnson for collector of Savannah instead of Powell, to be removed for the same cause as Kerby. The port of Savannah being of great importance, and the accounts much deranged, render it essential that a perfectly suitable and very active man should be appointed. From Messrs. Taliaferro, Milledge, and Baldwin, to whom I had written on the subject, no answer is yet received.
You will be pleased to decide whether a commission should issue also in this case.
4th. Letters from Watson, collector at Plymouth, and General Lincoln, collector of Boston, in relation to the inquiry into Watson’s conduct and its results. It is presumable that the liberality displayed in this instance had a good effect.
5th. A letter from Charles Pinckney on the propriety of removals there, and one from Simmons showing his compliance with a former circular in rendering his accounts. The letter from Mr. Pinckney, who has since sailed, was received the next day after I had written to you on the same subject and had enclosed St. Th. Mason’s letter. It showed that I was not mistaken in what I had understood to be Mr. Pinckney’s opinion. But it shows, also, that Mr. Doyley, who was General Mason’s correspondent, and said that a removal after the meeting of Congress should be too late, is the candidate for the office.
There is something mysterious in that, and in your having received such different impressions on that subject from what I had. It is necessary that the situation of affairs there should be known, and it is desirable that it may not be necessary to remove the collector. He is the only active officer who has yet been obtained there. His predecessor, Holmes, had left everything in immense confusion. Much has been recovered through Simmons’ exertions, and although the general relaxation, which pervaded the internal administration of this and every other department during the reign of energy, had produced the delay of his accounts, you see with what rapidity he has regained the time lost.
6th. Letters from Mr. Lincoln, Attorney-General, on present aspect in Massachusetts; from Gov. Langdon, wishing for more removals, and enclosing a letter from Judge Burke, South Carolina, wishing also for some, and recommending Thomas Burke to the office in Savannah, for which Governor Jackson recommends Johnson; and from Mr. Osgood, of thanks.
7th. Returns of warrants issued last week amounting to $90,864.12. At the beginning of the week, 3d August, the balance of cash in the Treasury was $2,520,228.42. On the 25th May, which was the first regular return I could obtain, the balance was $1,926,263.05. The surplus money, for we have got more than we want in the Treasury, is applied, as fast as we can procure good bills, to purchase remittances for Holland, where we have to pay $1,900,000 next year, and if we do not take care to be beforehand will necessarily raise the exchange by purchasing large sums at once.
But this place is unfavorable, on account of the distance from Philadelphia and New York. You must altogether depend on banks or private agents. I have not been able to purchase since beginning of July more than about three hundred thousand dollars’ worth, the whole at thirty-nine cents. Exchange is now at forty, and I must stop, otherwise government continuing to purchase would raise it above par.
Jonas Clark, collector of Kennebunk, was, it seems, appointed inspector of external revenue by the late President and Senate, but through some mistake notice was not given to the Department of State, and no commission issued.
In all the ports where there is a surveyor, he receives also a commission of inspector, which is necessary in the performance of some of his duties in relation to imported teas and spirits. In the ports where, as Kennebunk, there is no surveyor, the collector receives the same commission. Considering it as a matter of course, I have filled one of the blank commissions with his name for that office, which I hope will meet your approbation.
Governor Drayton has communicated that Ed. Darrel had accepted the place of commissioner of direct tax for the first division of South Carolina, for which he had received a blank commission. Mr. Darrel has also written, and hopes to complete the assessment in November. That of North Carolina is completed. No answer yet on the subject from Georgia.
The answer to New Haven seems to have had a greater effect than had been calculated upon. The Republicans hope for a greater number of removals; the Federals also expect it. I have already received several letters from Philadelphia applying for the offices of customs, upon the ground that it is generally understood that the officers there are to be removed.
There is no doubt that the Federal leaders are making a powerful effort to rally their party on the same ground. Although some mistakes may have been made as to the proper objects both of removal and appointment, it does not appear that less than what has been done could have been done without injustice to the Republicans.
But ought much more to be done? It is so important for the permanent establishment of those republican principles of limitation of power and public economy, for which we have successfully contended, that they should rest on the broad basis of the people, and not on a fluctuating party majority, that it would be better to displease many of our political friends than to give an opportunity to the irreconcilable enemies of a free government of inducing the mass of the Federal citizens to make a common cause with them. The sooner we can stop the ferment the better; and at all events it is not desirable that it should affect the eastern and southern parts of the Union. I fear less from the importunity of obtaining offices than from the arts of those men whose political existence depends on that of party. Office-hunters cannot have much influence, but the other class may easily persuade the warmest of our friends that more ought to be done for them. Upon the whole, although a few more changes may be necessary, I hope there will be but a few. The number of removals is not great, but in importance they are beyond their number. The supervisors of all the violent party States embrace all the collectors. Add to that the intended change in the post-office, and you have in fact every man in office out of the seaports.
Whilst on that subject, is it not proper that the suppression of the nineteen offices of inspectors, worth twenty thousand dollars, should be known and understood? If you approve, I would send to the press the order itself which you signed for that purpose.
Duane is here, and applies for two appointments in favor of Gardner, a native of Pennsylvania, and Campbell, an United Irishman, the two clerks who gave him the transcript of the accounts of Dayton, Pickering, &c. The last was suspected and turned out; the first was not suspected, but resigned. He wants Gardner to be made agent with the Choctaw Indians, and Campbell to have a commission in the army.
Whatever impropriety there might be in their conduct, I have reason to believe Gardner to be a man of honor. Campbell is very impudent, but as enthusiastic as his friends (the United Irishmen, I mean) commonly are.1
Mr. Thornton presses for a decision in the question of admission of French privateers and their prizes.
I can give no opinion, having never considered the subject; but unless it is much clearer than I expect, it seems that delay is desirable, at least until after the ratification of the French convention. I know that you must at last meet the question; but Thornton would not speak if he was not instructed, and the importance of a decision is too great to be risked on any but the strongest grounds.
Hoping to hear soon from you, I remain with great respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 14, 1801.
Your favors of the 8th and 10th came to hand yesterday. With respect to Hopkins’s case, which is the subject of the former, my opinion is generally that when a case is exactly that which the law meant to punish, it is one for which the power of pardon was not intended; but when a case is not that which the law meant to make criminal, and yet happens to be within its letter, there is proper ground to exercise the power of pardon. Ignorance of the law in the case of Hopkins, together with his having paid everything the Treasury had a right to, and gained nothing by the non-entry of his still, appear to bring him within the scope of the pardoning power. If you think so, and will have a pardon forwarded to me, I will sign it.
I enclose you the resignation of Anthony W. White, as surveyor of the port of New Brunswick. If this be the person I suppose, it will be no loss to the public.
The case of the expenditure of the hospital money, partly from the defects of the law, partly the difficulty of the subject, is very perplexing. How would it answer to get along as we have done till the meeting of the Legislature, and then to endeavor to establish a systematic plan legislatively? I know nothing of Chisman, proposed as collector of Hampton, and our friend Mr. Page, from the benevolent and unsuspicious cast of his mind, is the most unsafe recommender we can possibly follow. He never sees but the good qualities of a man, and those through the largest magnifiers. As the case will, I suppose, admit of some delay, I will write to persons of the neighborhood for further information, and will communicate the result; but if it admits no delay, then we may appoint Chisman, but be assured it will be at considerable risk. For the collectorship of Savannah I should prefer the recommendation of Jackson, who is of the State, to that of Burke, who is out of it. Will it not await the answers you expect from Baldwin, Milledge, and Taliaferro? if not, let us name Johnson. I shall have great reluctance indeed at removing Simmons, and especially as he promises the same support to this which he gave to the preceding Administration: this removes the only reason urged by Mr. Pinckney for depriving him of his place, to wit, his electioneering influence and energy. At any rate, we must take time and have more information on the subject. The removals desired by Mr. Langdon are on better ground, but they also may wait a while. Is Jonas Clark, proposed as collector of Kennebunk, a Republican? His having been nominated by our predecessor excites a presumption against it; and if he is not, we must be inflexible against appointing Federalists till there be a due portion of Republicans introduced into office. It gives just offence to those who have been constantly excluded heretofore to be still excluded by those who have been brought in to correct the system. The answer to New Haven does not work harder than I expected. It gives mortal offence to the Monarchical Federalists, who were mortally offended before. I do not believe it is thought unreasonable by the Republican Federalists. In one point the effect is not exactly what I expected. It has given more expectation to the sweeping Republicans than I think its terms justify; to the moderate and genuine Republicans it seems to have given perfect satisfaction. I am satisfied it was indispensably necessary in order to rally round one point all the shades of Republicanism and Federalism, exclusive of the Monarchical, and I am in hopes it will do it. At any event, while we push the patience of our friends to the utmost it will bear, in order that we may gather into the same fold all the Republican Federalists possible, we must not, even for this object, absolutely revolt our tried friends. It would be a poor manœuvre to exchange them for new converts. I have no doubt of the expediency of publishing the suppression of the inspectorships, with an explanation of the grounds of it. With respect to Gardner as agent with the Choctaws, is one wanting, and has he the fitness for the place? If not, I should wish to make some other provision for him. With respect to Campbell, a restoration to the same office would seem the best and safest redress. I have no doubt we have a right to put the French and English on the same footing, by either receiving or excluding the prizes of both nations. The latter is our best policy; but I would never permit a foreign minister, on the foundation of a mere newspaper paragraph, before the character of a fact be known, or even that it is a fact, to draw the government into the discussion and decision of the gravest and most difficult questions. I am clear, therefore, for giving no answer till the transaction and its whole character be authentically defined. From Mr. Thornton’s court we can never get a decision after a fact has happened. Why should we be so complaisant as to decide for them beforehand? In a letter of this day to General Dearborn I have proposed our general rendezvous at Washington, on the last day of September. Present my best respects to Mrs. Gallatin, and be assured yourself of my sincere and friendly attachment and respect.
P.S.—All your papers are returned, except the report of warrants issued.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
City ofWashington, 17th August, 1801.
Your favor of the 7th instant was received on the 11th, the day after the mail had closed. It arrives here on Tuesday, departs on Monday. You may answer by same mail, but cannot receive answer in less than fortnight. You will receive enclosed, as usual, the list of warrants, and I also enclose a letter from Mr. Doyley, and one from W. Jones, member of Congress for Philadelphia.
The first letter is not written in as explicit a language as might have been wished; but may not this be inferred from his and Mr. Pinckney’s letters? that not only there is some danger of a Federal Senator being elected, which indeed I have uniformly apprehended, but that Mr. Doyley and his friends fear, in case of a Republican succeeding, that he may have personal views different from theirs and favor appointments of different persons. And is not this the reason why Mr. Doyley and friends wish the appointment to take place before the meeting of Congress? I have invited Mr. Doyley to a free communication of his sentiments.
You will find by the other letter that the Republicans expect a change in Philadelphia: this expectation is owing partly to the removal of the collector of New York, and partly to the answer to New Haven, which, as I mentioned before, has had a greater, if not a better, effect than was expected. Of the four persons he recommends, the name of Bache would be most popular; but he wants industry. Clay is certainly the most capable, unless Conoly, who is highly respected by all who know him, should be supposed to understand that particular business better. Upon the whole, in that also it is much better to wait the meeting of Congress. Dallas, who was here, agrees with me. Yet it must be allowed that the warm Republicans will be displeased. It is the same in New York in regard to Rogers, who, though the most capable, was the most obnoxious to the zealous Republicans. Duane has been here, and I have taken an opportunity of showing the impropriety of numerous removals. He may think the reasons good, but his feelings will be at war with any argument on the subject. Clay has also been here: the number of young men of true merit and some scientific knowledge is so small in our middle States, that I cannot help being very desirous that something for which he may be fit might be done for him.
His father has, excluding him, placed his younger brother in an eligible commercial situation, and the Bank of North America will never promote him beyond his one thousand dollars salary. What do you think of the Lisbon or one of the Barbary consulships? I do not know that either would suit him, but wish only to be acquainted with your intentions generally.
I had understood that a commission of marshal New Jersey had been directed to issue in favor of General John Heard, and I believe he had understood as much. An application has, in fact, been made for the commission, on a supposition that it had been lost. I have told Wagner to send you a blank one, that, if it was intended, it may be filled. The present marshal is Thomas Lowry; he has been in since 26th September, 1789, his commission expires 28th January, 1802.
Mr. Miller has put in my hands the enclosed from Mr. Fish. It may be difficult to answer, yet he has been uniformly considered as the mere tool of Hamilton, and was with Giles and Watson, the most active electioneering officer of government in New York. I must say something to Miller about it. E. Livingston said that the removal of Fish was not expected so long as Rogers was permitted to continue. By the by, it seems to me that Fish intends that letter for publication.
I have heard that Fenwick had received a letter of later date from Bordeaux, stating the ratification of our convention with France, and Dawson being on his way back, but have not been able to ascertain whether true or not.
I am, with sincere respect and attachment, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 21, 1801.
Your favors of the 15th and 17th are received; you will find an approbation signed at the foot of Mr. Miller’s letter; all the papers enclosed to me are re-enclosed, except the list of warrants. I do not with very great certainty recollect the particulars as to General Heard, but I think we at first intended him the place afterwards given to Linn; that it was after that suggested he would accept the marshal’s office, and some of us at least thought it fortunate, but I do not remember that it was decided finally. As far as I see of the matter, I should approve of his appointment, but I rather think it was concluded there should be no more removals till we should meet again. This is still my opinion; for however this gradual proceeding may in some respects be disagreeable, yet I have no doubt it offers greater advantage than evil. On this ground, as well as that specially noted in a former letter, nothing should be immediately done in South Carolina. The Dunwoody Secretary stands on a mass of family interests not to be thought little of. We should make a great many enemies for one friend. I sincerely wish Judge Burke could be fully impressed with the fatal consequences of a division on the election of a Senator for South Carolina. I like much the idea of giving Clay the consulship of Lisbon. I deem it the most important consulship in our gift. I will write to Mr. Madison on the subject and ask his opinion. The letter of Fish is certainly not to be answered. The answer to New Haven was called for by great motives; but it must not lead us into the lists with every individual. We have nothing to fear from Fish’s publication. I presume somebody will answer him for us, by reminding him of his carrying his official influence into elections, &c. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high consideration.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 28, 1801.
Your favors of the 18th and 24th came by yesterday’s post. I am sorry Mr. Clay declines the consulship; it would have been very pleasing to us to replace our minister at Lisbon by such a consul as Clay. Perhaps reconsideration and inquiry into the advantages of the situation may reconcile it to him. I have not here my bundle of claims for office, and therefore cannot propose a successor for Colonel White in Jersey. Your acquaintance in the State will better enable you to do it. I have written to three gentlemen of great discretion, one at Norfolk, the others near Hampton, on the subject of Chisman. I have an answer from the one at Norfolk, who has never heard of him. I shall hear from the others before the next post. I have known Mr. Page from the time we were boys and classmates together, and love him as a brother, but I have always known him the worst judge of man existing. He has fallen a sacrifice to the ease with which he gives his confidence to those who deserve it not. Still, if we hear nothing against Chisman, we may venture to do what will be agreeable to Mr. Page. I am very anxious to do something useful for him; and so universally is he esteemed in this country, that no man’s promotion would be more generally approved. He has not an enemy in the world. But we have but one officer here whom the general voice, Whig and Tory, marks for removal; and I am not well enough acquainted with its duties to be certain that they are adapted to Mr. Page’s talent. The explanation you give of the nature of the office proposed for Jonas Clarke silences my doubts, and I agree to the appointment. I think we should do justice to Campbell and Gardner, and cannot suppose the Auditor will think hard of replacing them in their former berths. He has seen us restore officers where we thought their removal unjust, and cannot therefore view it in this case as meant to censure himself specially. Specific restitution is the particular measure of justice which the case calls for.
The doctrine as to the admission of prizes, maintained by the government from the commencement of the war between England, France, &c., to this day, has been this: the treaties give a right to armed vessels, with their prizes, to go where they please (consequently into our ports), and that these prizes shall not be detained, seized, nor adjudicated; but that the armed vessel may depart as speedily as may be, with her prize, to the place of her commission; and we are not to suffer their enemies to sell in our ports the prizes taken by their privateers. Before the British treaty, no stipulation stood in the way of permitting France to sell her prizes here; and we did permit it, but expressly as a favor, not as a right. See letter of August 16, 1793, to Gouverneur Morris, § 4, and other letters in that correspondence, which I cannot now turn to. These stipulations admit the prizes to put into our ports in cases of necessity, or perhaps of convenience, but no right to remain if disagreeable to us; and absolutely not to be sold. We have accordingly lately ordered away a British vessel brought in by a Spanish armed ship, and I have given it as my opinion to Mr. Madison that the British snow Windsor, lately brought in by the prisoners she was carrying, ought to be sent away. My opinion is, that whatever we are free to do we ought to do to throw difficulties in the way of the depredations committed on commerce, and chiefly our own commerce. In the case of the Spanish privateer at Wilmington, North Carolina, who wants to sell as much of his prize as will refit the privateer, it is absolutely forbidden. The directions you have already given as to the prize herself coincide perfectly with what I think right. No pardon has come to me from Mr. Wagner for Hopkins. I consent to the transfer you propose of the superintendence of the light-houses of Portsmouth and New York to the present collectors of those ports, and to the appointment of the collector for Savannah recommended by General Jackson, if you learn nothing to the contrary from the delegates. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 5, 1801.
Your favor of August 29th came to hand on the 3d, but no commission for Chisman is come to hand from Mr. Wagner; it shall be signed as soon as received, as my information relative to him is favorable. I return you all the papers received in your last, except the list of warrants. With respect to Sproat, you will do what you find best. The circular letter has my entire approbation. I have written by this post both to Mr. Meredith and Colonel Habersham fixing the translation of the latter to the last day of October.
Mr. Madison happened to be with me on the arrival of our last post, and had directed his mail to be brought here, but it has failed, consequently he has not yet received his letters by the Maryland, and we are as yet uninformed of the points on which the ratification is suspended, but we both conclude it improper to delay either the Boston or Mr. Livingston. He gives notice by this post that the departure of both must be prepared, and hopes to receive his letters in time to prepare and forward Mr. Livingston’s ultimate instructions by the next. I wish Murray may not trust himself with any important modifications. If the treaty should never be ratified, it will only begin the work of placing us clear of treaty with all nations.
I learn with sincere regret the continued illness of your child. My sympathies with you in that distress flow from great trials in the same school at a former period of my life. General Dearborn’s situation is peculiarly afflicting. My health has been uninterrupted, as well as that of my family; so also has been Mr. Madison’s. No letter written by you after your receipt of this can be answered sooner than by myself in person, as I shall be with you on the 30th. Accept assurance of my sincere esteem and high respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, 7th September, 1801.
I duly received your favor of the 28th ultimo. In the case of the intended successor of General White as surveyor at Brunswick, I applied to the printer, S. H. Smith, who married there, and who, after ten days’ deliberation, told me that he had in vain tried to find a Republican there fitted for the office, but mentioned the name of John Nelson as a very respectable and moderate Federal character there. If that will not do, might it not be well to apply for information to General Heard, who lives within ten miles of Brunswick?
I received a letter from Mr. Milledge, of Georgia, recommending, without any remarks, four persons as proper to succeed Mr. Powell, the collector of Savannah. One of the four, though not the first in order, is the same person whom Governor Jackson recommended. The office is so important that I have thought it best to delay filling the commission for one week longer, in order, if possible, to receive answers from Messrs. Taliaferro and Baldwin; and I have also written on the subject to Colonel Few, at New York. As you have acquaintances in the vicinity of Norfolk, it is very desirable that information should be obtained from them on the subject of a proper successor for Nat. Wilkins, collector of Cherry Stone (Eastern Shore, Virginia), who is the worst delinquent on the list, his last account rendered being to 31st December, 1796. I have written to Mr. Page and young Mr. Newton, but neither can recommend any person. The successor should have integrity, keenness, and firmness. There is much smuggling in that district, and, the people being in the habit of favoring it, it will require some exertions to put an end to it.
The two enclosed from Mr. Brent, and from Mr. Steele, the last covering one from Mr. Simmons, require no comment.
You will see by that of Mr. Jarvis that he declines accepting the collectorship of Penobscot. This leaves us in a very awkward situation, as in the mean while, Lee being superseded, we have no collector there. Mr. Jarvis recommends his brother. On the other hand, I have a recommendation for P. D. Serjeant, which I enclose. It was given me at the time by General Dearborn, who spoke favorably of the applicant, but on the whole preferred Mr. Jarvis—him who declines. Of this last gentleman’s brother I did not hear General Dearborn speak, though he must have known that he resided on the spot, whilst the brother whom he recommended was established at Boston.
In respect to the appointment of an inspector of internal revenue for the new district of North-West of Ohio, I enclose Mr. Worthington’s letter, but have not the time to wait for an answer from you, as the person must receive his appointment by the 1st of October. Upon the whole, it has appeared to me most eligible to fill the blank commission you left for that object with the name of Th. Worthington, leaving him a reasonable time to resign either that or the place of register of the land office.
I had much rather he would keep the last, which is of more importance to the revenue and far more to the people than the other, because I consider him as being, upon the whole, the most respectable character in the North-West Territory; but a decision of the Attorney-General’s in relation to his fees has, I apprehend, somewhat disgusted him.
It had been my intention to fill the commission with the name of Samuel Finley, the receiver of Chillicothe, as the two offices seemed more compatible, and the commission on that of receiver (one per cent. on moneys received) is not equal to the risk and trouble; but he has now upwards of a hundred thousand dollars in hand, and is not as regular in making his returns as he ought to be.
If upon investigation it will appear that it was owing only to the pressure of business, and Mr. Worthington will keep the register’s place, I would still incline for that arrangement; but the temporary appointment of Mr. W. will give us time to examine. You will be able to appreciate the weight of his recommendations in favor of two persons as collectors at Cayuga and Cincinnati. I do not expect any further information in relation to those two posts, and will, of course, wait for your instructions.
The list of warrants is, as usual, enclosed. Payments go on very well. After making the payments of interest due for this quarter at the end of this month, we will have two millions and a half, at least, in the Treasury. We had but two at the end of last quarter.
My only embarrassment proceeds from the difficulty of purchasing good bills on Amsterdam, in which we ought to have had five hundred thousand dollars more invested by the 1st October next. We have paid heretofore but thirty-nine, but must now give forty cents per guilder.
I was absent when the despatches from France arrived, and cannot form any precise opinion of the result. I have uniformly thought that the modification proposed by the Senate having put it in the power of France to act as they pleased, that consistency was not, in the situation of Bonaparte, to be expected, which a government solely actuated by the permanent and solid interest of its nation would be likely to preserve.
If, for any reasons connected with foreign policy or their own domestic concerns, they do not think it their interest to ratify at the moment when the negotiation takes place, I think that they will take hold of the alteration proposed. Yet I had thought that peace with America was so popular in France that they would not run the risk of a rejection, and that that cause would preponderate over any other. On the other hand, it is clear that the signing of the convention was at least hastened by the wish to operate favorably on the northern powers, and that this motive has now ceased. If they intend to make peace with Great Britain, may they not think that they will be likely to make a more advantageous treaty with us after that event, or rather after the expiration of the British treaty, than now? If they are really sincere in their objections to the omission, and it seems also to the restoration of the second article, and insist on a positive renunciation of indemnities and treaties, not with a view of defeating the treaty, but because they actually want such renunciation, may it be that they intend to occupy not only Louisiana, but also the Floridas, and wish therefore an explicit annullation of the Treaty of 1777?
I hope these delays will not be attended with any real change in the relative situation of the two countries, but I fear the effect on the public mind here.
Commodore Dale has arrived almost in the nick of time in the Mediterranean; yet it is to be wished that he had met the Tripolitan at sea instead of Gibraltar.
With great respect and sincere attachment, your very obedient servant.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, September 12, 1801.
This will be handed by M. L. Davis, of New York, the candidate for the naval office. I used my endeavors to prevent his proceeding to Monticello, but he had left New York with that intention, and is not easily diverted from his purpose. The reason he gives for his anxiety is that, immediately after the adjournment of Congress, E. Livingston and others mentioned to him that a positive arrangement was made by the Administration by which he was to be appointed to that office; that he was so perfectly confident, till some time in June, that such was the fact, as to refuse advantageous proposals of a permanent establishment, and the general belief on that subject has placed him in a very awkward situation in New York.
He presses me much, on the ground of my personal knowledge both of him and of the local politics of New York, to give you my opinion in a decided manner on that subject; which to him I declined, both because in one respect it was not made up, and because my own opinion, even if decided, neither ought nor would decide yours. The propriety of removing Rogers remains with me the doubtful point: after Fish’s removal, and that of others, they in New York seem to suppose that the dismission of Rogers is, on account of anti-revolutionary adherence to enemies, unavoidable; the answer to New Haven appears to have left no doubt on their minds on that subject, and I apprehend that the numerous removals already made by you there, and the almost general sweep by their State government, have only increased the anxiety and expectations of a total change. In relation to Rogers himself, though he is a good officer, I would feel but little regret at his being dismissed, because he has no claim detached from having fulfilled his official duties, has made an independent fortune by that office, and, having no personal popularity, cannot lose us one friend nor make us one enemy. But I feel a great reluctance in yielding to that general spirit of persecution which, in that State particularly, disgraces our cause and sinks us on a level with our predecessors.
Whether policy must yield to principle, by going farther into those removals than justice to our political friends and the public welfare seem to require, is a question on which I do not feel myself at present capable of deciding.
I have used the word “persecution,” and, I think, with propriety; for the council of appointments have extended their removals to almost every auctioneer, and, that not being a political office, the two parties ought certainly to have an equal chance in such appointments.
As to the other point, if Rogers shall be removed, I have no hesitation in saying that I do not know a man whom I would prefer to Mr. Davis for that office.
This may, however, be owing to my knowing him better than I do others who may be equally well qualified. I believe Davis to be a man of talent (particularly quickness and correctness), suited for the office, of strict integrity, untainted reputation, and pure Republican principles. Nor am I deterred from saying so far in his favor on account of any personal connection with any other individuals; because I am convinced that his political principles stand not on the frail basis of persons, but are conclusively bottomed on conviction of their truth, and will ever govern his political conduct. So far as I think a prejudice against him in that respect existed, I consider myself in justice to him bound to declare as my sincere opinion. Farther I cannot go.
As the mail will reach you only one day later than Mr. Davis, I will defer writing on business till Monday. The elections of Maryland are decisively in our favor: twenty-six to fourteen is the probable result,—a majority certain.
I feel in better health and better spirits since the change of weather, which, together with the change of air, seems to have had a favorable effect on my child’s health. Mrs. Gallatin and her daughter, three weeks old, are very well.
Robert Smith is and will continue absent for some time longer. On his arriving home last Saturday, he found his eldest son dead, and his wife expects daily to be confined. S. Smith, who wrote me on the subject, [says] that this ought to hasten Mr. Madison’s return, and that friends and foes begin to complain of long absences. I wish earnestly we may all meet as early as possible, yet do not apprehend any inconvenience to have yet resulted for the public service from your absence.
I am, with sincere respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
I enclose recommendations sent to me in favor of Davis.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, 14th September, 1801.
In relation to Gardner and Campbell, formerly clerks in the Auditor’s office, their case is not similar. Gardner voluntarily resigned about a year ago. As to Campbell, the Auditor states that when the public offices were about to be removed, the clerks, and he among the number, were supplied an advance of money to defray their expenses to Washington, that Campbell remained behind without either explaining the cause of his delay or intimating his final intention, and that his place, after being kept vacant a considerable time, was at length necessarily supplied by another.
Under those circumstances the Auditor thinks that to make room for them by the removal of others would be doing an act of injustice, in which he cannot consent to have any agency.
Mr. Harrison seemed hurt at the supposition that he had been guilty of any act of wanton injustice or political intolerance, at the same time that he had no hesitation in saying that, although Campbell was not turned out, yet if he had returned here, and it had appeared that he was the person who had communicated official papers without his permission, it would have been considered as a breach of trust and a sufficient cause of removal. He also represented that an interference of that nature was inadmissible, for if C. and G. had been dismissed by him, no matter for what cause, how could he possibly submit to the indignity, or indeed be capable of performing his official duties, and amongst others that of directing and controlling his clerks, if they were to be reinstated upon application by them to another than himself?
I am clearly of opinion that Campbell under all circumstances ought not to be restored, and I think also that, as a general principle, Mr. Harrison’s last observation is correct. But I must in candor add that I made a blunder in this business: instead of speaking to Mr. H. in my own name, I showed him what you had written to me, and he considered the whole as done with intention of hurting his feelings. I acted awkwardly, because acting against my own opinion in recommending Campbell’s restoration. This is, however, only a trifling family controversy, and will not be attended with any other effect abroad, except giving some temporary offence to Duane, Beckley, Israel, and some other very hot-headed but, I believe, honest Republicans. This leads me to a more important subject. Pennsylvania is, I think, fixed. Although we have there amongst our friends several office-hunters, Republicanism rests there on principle pretty generally, and it rests on the people at large, there not being in the whole State a single individual whose influence could command even now one county, or whose defection could lose us one hundred votes at an election.
It is ardently to be wished that the situation of New York was as favorable; but so much seems to depend in that State on certain individuals, the influence of a few is so great, and the majority in the city of New York (on which, unfortunately, the majority in the State actually depends, that city making one-eighth of the whole) is so artificial, that I much fear that we will eventually lose that State before next election of President.
The most favorable event would certainly be the division of every State into districts for the election of electors; with that single point, and only common sense in the Administration, Republicanism would be established for one generation at least beyond controversy; but if not obtainable as a general constitutional provision, I think that our friends, whilst they can, ought to introduce it immediately in New York. Davis’s visit to Monticello has led me to that conclusion by drawing my attention to that subject.
There are also two points connected with this on which I wish the Republicans throughout the Union would make up their mind. Do they eventually mean not to support Burr as your successor when you shall think fit to retire? Do they mean not to support him at next election for Vice-President? These are serious questions, for although with Pennsylvania and Maryland we can fear nothing so long as you will remain the object of contention with the Federalists, yet the danger would be great should any unfortunate event deprive the people of your services. Where is the man we could support with any reasonable prospect of success? Mr. Madison is the only one, and his being a Virginian would be a considerable objection. But if, without thinking of events more distant or merely contingent, we confine ourselves to the next election, which is near enough, the embarrassment is not less; for even Mr. Madison cannot on that occasion be supported with you, and it seems to me that there are but two ways, either to support Burr once more, or to give only one vote for President, scattering our votes for the other person to be voted for. If we do the first, we run, on the one hand, the risk of the Federal party making Burr President, and we seem, on the other, to give him an additional pledge of being eventually supported hereafter by the Republicans for that office. If we embrace the last party, we not only lose the Vice-President, but pave the way for the Federal successful candidate to that office to become President. All this would be remedied by the amendment of distinguishing the votes for the two offices, and by that of dividing the States into districts. But as it is extremely uncertain whether such amendments will succeed, we must act on the ground of elections going on as heretofore, and here I see the danger, but cannot discover the remedy. It is indeed but with reluctance that I can ever think of the policy necessary to counteract intrigues and personal views, and wiser men than myself must devise the means; yet, had I felt the same diffidence, I mean total want of confidence, which during the course of last winter I discovered in a large majority of the Republicans towards Burr, I would have been wise enough never to give my consent in favor of his being supported last election as Vice-President. In this our party, those at least who never could be reconciled to having him hereafter as President, have made a capital fault, for which there was no necessity at the time, and which has produced and will produce us much embarrassment. I need not add that so far as your Administration can influence anything of that kind it is impossible for us to act correctly, unless the ultimate object is ascertained. Yet I do not believe that we can do much, for I dislike much the idea of supporting a section of Republicans in New York, and mistrusting the great majority, because that section is supposed to be hostile to Burr, and he is considered as the leader of that majority. A great reason against such policy is that the reputed leaders of that section, I mean the Livingstons generally, and some broken remnants of the Clintonian party who hate Burr (for Governor Clinton is out of question and will not act), are so selfish and so uninfluential that they never can obtain their great object, the State government, without the assistance of what is called Burr’s party, and will not hesitate a moment to bargain for that object with him and his friends, granting in exchange their support for anything he or they may want out of the State. I do not include in that number the Chancellor nor Mr. Armstrong, but the first is, in that State, only a name, and there is something which will forever prevent the last having any direct influence with the people. I said before that I was led to that train of ideas by Davis’s personal application, for although in writing to you by him I said, as I sincerely believe it, that he never would or could be influenced by B. or any other person to do an improper act, or anything which could hurt the general Republican principle, yet it is not to be doubted that after all that has been said on the subject his refusal will, by Burr, be considered as a declaration of war. The Federals have been busy on the occasion. Tillotson also has said many things which might not have been said with equal propriety, and I do know that there is hardly a man who meddles with politics in New York who does not believe that Davis’s rejection is owing to Burr’s recommendation. On that as well as on many other accounts I was anxious to prevent Davis’s journey; but to want of early education and mixing with the world I ascribe his want of sense of propriety on this occasion, and his going is the worst thing I have known of him.
I leave this subject with pleasure, and yet find that I have in a hurry thrown my ideas on it in such a confused manner as would require a revision, but I trust in your indulgence and candor.
I enclose Mr. Milledge’s and Mr. Few’s letters, and will, in pursuance with your last letter but one, direct a commission for Mr. Thomas Johnson, the person recommended by Governor Jackson.
A Mr. Richard Parrot called this morning on me to tell me that the office of collector of Georgetown was vacant, and that he had been formerly recommended to you. Mr. Habersham has not communicated anything to me.
I have not seen the despatches from France, and do not know on what ground you have determined to send the minister to France at present, but it will at least afford an argument to those who have attacked the sending of Mr. Dawson. Why not send Mr. Livingston at first? and if that was improper then, why is it proper now?
An answer to this should be ready to go to the public when his departure shall be announced. The list of warrants is enclosed, as usual.
Believe me to be, with great and sincere respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
Mr. Smith is still absent. Several of the more decent Federal papers begin to attack the absence of so many members of the Administration.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 18, 1801.
Your favors of the 7th, 12th, and 14th instant came to hand yesterday, consequently that of the 7th must have slept a week somewhere. Mr. Davis is now with me; he has not opened himself. When he does, I shall inform him that nothing is decided nor can be till we get together at Washington. I keep all the letters of recommendation of him which you enclosed me, as also Milledge’s letter, and return you all your other papers. I approve of your intended application to General Heard for a successor to White, and wish you to appoint any one whom his recommendation or other better evidence shall place in your view as the best. As to the successor to Powell, of Savannah, I should think the person on whom Milledge and Jackson both unite might be safely appointed. I will write to inquire for a substitute for Wilkins, of Cherry Stone. As to Jarvis’s successor, will it not be better to wait for General Dearborn, who, I suppose, will be at Washington as early as I shall, or nearly so? not, however, that I know this, but only presume it. I am glad you have yourself settled Worthington’s appointment, as I possess no knowledge which could have aided you. In the case of Cayuga and Cincinnati, where you seem to be without information, it is probable Captain Lewis can help us out. He is well acquainted there. Being absent at this time, I have not an opportunity of asking him, but he will be on with me at Washington on or before the last day of the month. With respect to Gardner and Campbell, I must leave them to yourself. I think we are bound to take care of them. Could we not procure them as good berths as their former at least, in some of the custom-houses? One part of the subject of one of your letters is of a nature which forbids my interference altogether. The amendment to the Constitution, of which you speak, would be a remedy to a certain degree. So will a different amendment which I know will be proposed, to wit, to have no electors, but let the people vote directly, and the ticket which has a plurality of the votes of any State to be considered as receiving thereby the whole vote of the State. Our motions with respect to Livingston are easily explained: it was impossible for him to go off in the instant he was named, or on shorter warning than two or three months. In the mean time, Bingham and others, mercantile men, complained in Congress that we were losing so many thousand dollars every day till the ratification of the treaty. A vessel to carry it was prepared by our predecessors, and all the preparatory expenses of her mission incurred. This is the reason why Mr. L. did not go then. The reason why he must go now is that difficulties have arisen unexpectedly in the ratification of the treaty, which we believe him more capable of getting over than Mr. Murray. We think that the state of the treaty there calls earnestly for the presence of a person of talents and confidence; we would rather trust him than Murray in shaping any new modification.
I sincerely congratulate you on the better health of your son, as well as on the new addition to your family, and Mrs. Gallatin’s convalescence. I consider it as a trying experiment for a person from the mountains to pass the two bilious months on the tide-water. I have not done it these forty years, and nothing should induce me to do it. As it is not possible but that the Administration must take some portion of time for their own affairs, I think it best they should select that season for absence. General Washington set the example of those two months; Mr. Adams extended them to eight months. I should not suppose our bringing it back to two months a ground for grumbling, but, grumble who will, I will never pass those months on tide-water. Accept assurances of my constant and sincere esteem and respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, September 21, 1801.
I have nothing new to communicate, expecting to see you in a few days, and being much engaged this day. I only enclose the list of warrants and two letters: one from Mr. Dent applying for the Treasurer’s office, and one from Dr. Bache, to which last I am at a loss how to answer. Mr. Habersham seems embittered and determined not to accept the office of Treasurer.
I can go on with the routine of this Department, but I have not been used to be so long left to myself for everything, and, besides the pleasure I will feel in seeing you, am on public accounts extremely anxious for your arrival. Robert Smith returned only last night. General Dearborn expects to leave home the 24th.
With great respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
October 3, 1801.
The inducement which you propose in order to engage Powell to bring up his accounts is approved; so is also the idea of collecting men of talents about us, even in offices which do not need them. Upon the principle of distribution also I doubt if the Treasury should be given to Maryland.
With respect to Dr. Bache I must have some conversation with you; as to the office of Postmaster-General, he might be told that an arrangement, made as soon as the resignation took place, binds us up from any change. Health and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Washington, October 9, 1801.
I return you Mr. Dallas’s opinion on the question whether the goods of a citizen taken by one belligerent in the bottom of another may be received here, with the consent of the captor, by the owner. His idea that, by the principle established with France that enemy bottoms make enemy goods, these goods are assimilated to the real enemy goods which were on board, is imposing at first view, but yields, in my opinion, to further consideration. For whose benefit was that principle established? Clearly for the benefit of the captor; and how can a third party, not interested in the question, prevent him from relinquishing his benefit in favor of our citizen? Ransom or fraud may make another question of it; but while it is stated as a bona fide relinquishment of the benefit which the treaty between France and us had introduced for the captor, I cannot conceive that the owner of the bottom has a right to object. Suppose the British owner had ransomed his vessel, or that the captor had ceded to him the benefit which the laws of war had given him by making capture a transfer of property, could we, who have no interest nor right embarked in the question, control their transaction? It would really be hard that the goods of our own citizen, relinquished to him by the captor, should be prohibited by us from our own ports. Yet, as we have no Attorney-General here, I would not proceed against Mr. Dallas’s opinion. I wish it may go off on your first letter supposing a consent of all parties, or, if the British minister objects, I wish Mr. Hancock could find some means of carrying it into court. Whether this can be done by mandamus I am not satisfied. If it could, it would be a prompt trial of the question. Should the case come back to us on the dissent of the British minister, it is so important as a first precedent that great consideration must be bestowed on it. Health and respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
[9th November, 1801.]
Enclosed you will find the letters received by last mail (one excepted from Surveyor-General, on which I have not yet formed an opinion). I would suggest the propriety of my not sending those which require certain previous inquiries, such as those of Th. Worthington, E. Boudinot, J. Ingersoll, until after the inquiries have been made and an opinion formed, when the whole subject may be laid before you. I also enclose two drafts of letters, one on Mr. Pichon’s application and the other in relation to an apparently delinquent collector.
I send along with this a bundle of what we call public letters, also received by mail. The greater part of these are endorsed so as to be distinguishable, and are opened by the principal clerks. They consist principally of the weekly statements, &c., of collectors, never require any answer, except when at the end of a quarter the result does not agree with the quarterly accounts or they exhibit too much money in hands of a collector.
I never look at them, but they are entered in a book, which has been prepared under my direction by one of the clerks, so as to exhibit weekly a general view of all the transactions. From that book a weekly sheet is made out exhibiting the balance in hands of collectors, &c., subject to drafts of the Treasury, and that general view enables to draw upon them, to call on them, when necessary, for more regular returns, and sometimes to institute inquiries, as in Mr. Gerry’s case.
I do not suppose you want to see those letters, but have sent them as a sample, and will confine myself hereafter to letters on which it is necessary for me to act, unless you shall otherwise direct.
The whole of my correspondence is generally very insipid, consisting of petty details, &c., and I have as much as possible abridged it. It will by no means convey just ideas of the real business of this Department; this, as well as the object you have generally in view and which is of primary importance, can, in my opinion, be obtained only by regular meetings.
It seems to me that a general conference once a week, to which might be added private conferences of the President with each of the Secretaries respectively once or twice a week, is a necessary measure; but those conferences should be fixed on certain days and hours, otherwise they will be only occasional, and, as we have already experienced, often omitted. Feeling, as I do, the necessity of concert, I make no apology for the suggestion.
I have the honor to be.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
November 11, 1801.
The bank statements are new to me and present curious information: to obtain a general idea I have brought them together as above, very inaccurately, omitting some items I did not understand, lumping others perhaps ill understood; but such an abstract accurately made would be interesting. For this purpose it would require in the first place a judicious form to be devised, and that sent to all the banks with a request they would put their statements into that form. It would then be easy to generalize every set of returns, and at the end of the year to make an average from the whole. And why should not the bottom line of the yearly average be presented to Congress? It would give us the benefit of their and of the public observations, and betray no secret as to any particular bank.
I enclose you a letter concerning Cherryston’s, of which I can make little. The applications for moneys due on appropriations may certainly be omitted to be sent to me, as the effect appears in the weekly abstract of warrants. Those conveying information of what is passing or of the state of things are the desirable. Dr. Tucker’s coming into office may be fixed for the 1st day of December. Health and good wishes.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
November 12, 1801.
The supervisor of New Hampshire (Rogers) was a Revolutionary Tory. I am therefore ready to change him.
If we are to appoint a Federalist at Cherryton’s, I have no doubt that Bowdoin is preferable to any other. His family has been among the most respectable on that shore for many generations: if, however, we have any means of inquiry, we ought to avail ourselves of them.
Mr. Read’s letter I forward to Mr. Madison merely to bring the establishment of those agents under his notice. He will return it to you.
The enclosed rough draft of a message I had prepared for the Senate will show you the views in conformity with which were all the instructions which went from hence relative to the Senatorial complaint against Duane. My idea of the new prosecution was not that our Attorney should ever be heard to urge the common law of England as in force otherwise than so far as adopted in any particular State, but that, 1st, he should renew it in the Federal court if he supposed there was any Congressional statute which had provided for the case (other than the Sedition Act), or if he thought he could show that the Senate had made or adopted such a lex parliamentaria as might reach the case; or, 2d, that he should bring the prosecution in the State court of Pennsylvania, if any statute of that State, or statutory adoption of the common law of England, had made the offence punishable. These were my views. They were not particularly given by way of instruction to the Attorney, because it was presumed they would occur to him, and we did not choose, by prescribing his line of procedure exactly, to take on ourselves an unnecessary responsibility. I will thank you to return the paper, as well for this message as the sketches, on the back of it, of some paragraphs of the first message to Congress, of which, in a day or two, I shall ask your revisal. In that the Sedition law will be presented under another view. Health and good wishes.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
[Received] 15th November, 1801.
. . . No letters received by last mail.
I have found so much difficulty in arranging, or rather procuring correct statements amongst the Treasury documents, that I cannot yet give any probable estimate of the revenue within half a million,—of course cannot give any opinion of the propriety of abolishing the internal revenues; but I am clearly of opinion they should all go or all remain. It would not be worth while to preserve the excise alone at such monstrous expense and inconvenience as the collection now costs. The two documents of “receipts and expenditures for 1800,” and of “estimates for 1802,” cannot accompany your message, as they are directed by positive resolutions of the House to be laid yearly before them by the Secretary. But as they must be supposed to have been communicated by him to you, they may with propriety be referred to in the message. They are matters of form prepared by the Register, and to which for the present year I have concluded to make no alteration in point of form.
If possible, I will on Tuesday lay before you general results sufficient to give you all the information you may want in relation to the general views you intend exhibiting in the message. But in the mean while could you calculate what will be the annual sum wanted to pay the interest on, and pay off within eight years, a debt of $21,955,900, bearing an interest of $1,310,401; it being premised that $6,481,700, part of the said debt, bears an interest of eight per cent., and must be paid the last; and that $950,965 of the debt are already paid out of the Treasury, but without stopping the interest. If three millions will do, I think we can, with the impost and lands, pay off thirty-eight millions within the eight years 1802-1809. The total amount of unredeemed debt on 1st January, 1802, will be $77,866,402, of which we shall have already remitted to Holland the above-stated sum of $950,965. The reduction, or rather abolition, of internal revenues will necessarily depend on the extent of the navy establishment.
I will give a first reading to-morrow to the sketch of the message, and write some notes; but I cannot pay to it the proper attention till after Tuesday, and will of course return it Monday morning with a wish to see it afterwards once more.
Respectfully, your most obedient servant.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
November 14, 1801.
Thomas Jefferson asks the favor of Mr. Gallatin to examine the enclosed rough draft of what is proposed for his first communication to Congress; not merely the part relating to finance, but the whole. Several paragraphs are only provisionally drawn, to be altered or omitted according to further information. The whole respecting finance is predicated on a general view of the subject presented according to what I wish, but subject to the particular consultation which Th. J. wishes to have with Mr. Gallatin, and especially to the calculation proposed to be made as to the adequacy of the impost to the support of government and discharge of the public debt, for which Mr. G. is to furnish correct materials for calculation. The part respecting the navy has not yet been opened to the Secretary of the Navy. What belongs to the Departments of State and War is in unison with the ideas of those gentlemen. Th. J. asks the favor of Mr. Gallatin to devote the first moments he can spare to the enclosed, and to make notes on a separate paper, with pencilled references at the passages noted on. Health and happiness.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Foreign powers friendly:—Effect. If redress is meant, it seems wrong to raise expectations which probably will be disappointed. Quere, whether Mr. King’s negotiation should be hinted at.
Indians:—Should not the attempt to treat be mentioned, stating also the determination not to press upon them any disagreeable demand? This to guard against any blame which the imprudence of the Commissioners might occasion.
Tripoli:—More stress might be laid on the protection afforded by the frigates to our vessels which had been long blockaded, and on the imminent peril from which our commerce in the Atlantic was preserved by the timely arrival of our squadron at the moment when the Tripolitans had already reached Gibraltar. This early, &c.:—It will be said that the specimen had already been given by Truxton.
Finances. In nearly the same ratio, &c.:—The revenue has increased more than in the same ratio with population: 1st. Because our wealth has increased in a greater ratio than population. 2d. Because the seaports and towns, which consume imported articles much more than the country, have increased in a greater proportion. (See census of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and compare their increase with that of United States.) The greater increase of wealth is due in part to our natural situation, but principally to our neutrality during the war; an evident proof of the advantages of peace notwithstanding the depredations of the belligerent powers.
We may safely calculate on a certain augmentation, and war indeed and unfortunate calamities may change, &c.:—It appears perfectly correct to make our calculations and arrangements without any regard to alterations which might be produced by the possible though improbable event of the United States being involved in a war; but the alteration which may be produced by the restoration of peace in Europe should be taken into consideration. A reduction in the price of our exports would diminish our ability of paying, and therefore of consuming imported articles; and it is perhaps as much as can be hoped for, if, taking an average of six or eight years immediately succeeding the peace, the natural increase of population was sufficient to counterbalance the decrease of consumption arising from that cause. But, supposing these to balance one another, there is still another cause of decrease of revenue arising from peace in Europe. Our enormous carrying trade of foreign articles must be diminished by the peace. Having been much disappointed in the correctness of some of the custom-house and Treasury documents on which I depended, I cannot ascertain with precision, but do not think far from the truth the following result, viz.: that from to of our impost revenue is raised on articles not consumed here, but exported without being entitled to drawback, either because they have remained more than one year in the country, or are exported in too small parcels to be entitled, or for any other cause not ascertained. This item of revenue is not perhaps less at present than $1,200,000, and, as it does not rest on consumption, but on an overgrown and accidental commerce, must be deducted from any calculation grounded on the gradual increase of population and consumption. Could we depend only on a continuance of the present revenue from impost, we might at once dispense with all the internal taxes. For the receipts from that source for the year ending 30 June, 1801,
But, for causes already assigned, I dare not estimate the impost for the eight years 1802-1809 at more than an average of $9,000,000 to $9,250,000. It must, however, be observed that our expenditure of navy and foreign intercourse may be diminished when a general peace takes place.
Now laid before you:—The statements and report of the Secretary of the Treasury are by resolutions and by law respectively laid before Congress by the Secretary. It would be better to say: “which, according to law and the orders of the two Houses, will be laid before you.”
Taxes on stamps, &c., may be immediately suppressed:—Although the Executive has a right to recommend the suppression of any one tax, yet in ordinary cases it seems more proper to recommend or suggest generally a reduction of taxes without designating particularly some of them. If the recommendation could be general as to a whole class of taxes, such as all internal taxes, it would not have so much the appearance of what may be attacked as an interference with legislative details.
Economies in civil list:—These may be popular, but I am confident that no Department is less susceptible of reform; it is by far that in which less abuse has been practised; it exceeds but little the original sum set apart for that object; the reason is, that it being the one to which the people are most attentive, it has been most closely watched, and any increase attempted but with caution and repelled with perseverance. At an early period I examined it critically, and the reductions which might be made appeared so trifling, that the whole time I was in Congress, eager as we all were to propose popular measures and to promote economy, I never proposed, nor do I remember to have seen a single reduction proposed. It seems to me that the subject may be mentioned, but less stress laid on it.
Expenses of foreign intercourse:—The Diplomatic Department forms but a small item of these; the expenses attending the Barbary powers, and principally those which are incurred by consuls, for ministers and agents, for prosecution of claims and relief of seamen abroad, deserve particular consideration. If any measure has been taken to check these, it might be mentioned; if the subject has not yet been attended to, I would prefer using the word diplomatic, or foreign ministers, rather than the general words “foreign intercourse.”
Navy:—If possible, it would be better to avoid a direct recommendation to continue in actual service a part of it: this subject should, as far as practicable, be treated generally, leaving the Legislature to decide exclusively upon it.
I communicate an account of receipts, &c.; also appropriations:—All those documents prepared and signed by the Register are transmitted on the first week of the session by the Secretary to Congress. By the law constituting the Treasury Department, it is enacted that the Secretary shall lay before Congress or either House such reports, documents, &c., as he may be directed from time to time. Hence the invariable practice has been to call for financial information directly on the Treasury Department, except in the case of loans, where the authority had been given to the President; and for information respecting Army, Navy, or State Department, the application is always to the President, requesting him to direct, &c. The distinction, it is presumable, has been made in order to leave to Congress a direct power, uncontrolled by the Executive, on financial documents and information as connected with money and revenue subjects. It would at present be much more convenient to follow a different course; if instead of six or seven reports called for by the standing orders of one or the other House I could throw them all into one, to be made to you, it would unite the advantages of simplicity and perspicuity to that of connection with the reports made by the other Departments, as all might then be presented to Congress through you and by you; but I fear that it would be attacked as an attempt to dispense with the orders of the Houses or of Congress if the usual reports were not made in the usual manner to them; and if these are still made, it becomes useless for you to communicate duplicates. But the paragraph may be easily modified by saying, “The accounts, &c., will show, &c.” Quere, whether this remarkable distinction, which will be found to pervade all the laws relative to the Treasury Department, was not introduced to that extent in order to give to Mr. Hamilton a department independent of every executive control? It may be remembered that he claimed under those laws the right of making reports and proposing reforms, &c., without being called on for the same by Congress. This was a Presidential power, for by the Constitution the President is to call on the Departments for information, and has alone the power of recommending. But in the present case, see the Act supplementary to the Act establishing the Treasury Department, passed in 1800.
Navy-yards:—Too much seems to be said in favor of the navy-yard here. Six appear too many, and the Legislature having heretofore authorized but two, it seems that a stronger recommendation to authorize a reduction of the number might be made, and a suggestion of the propriety of regulating by law to what kind of officers their immediate superintendence should be committed.
Few harbors in the United States offer, &c.:—Is that fact certain? Portsmouth, Philadelphia, and even Boston, are perfectly defensible. But if true, should it be stated in a public speech? Will it not be charged as exposing the nakedness of the land?
Sedition Act:—The idea contained in the last paragraph had struck me; but to suggest its propriety to the Legislature appears doubtful. Are we sure of a Senatorial majority originally opposed to that law? Quere, as to Foster.
Juries:—A recommendation for a law providing an impartial and uniform mode of summoning juries, and taking the power from the marshals and clerks,—from the Judiciary and Executive,—would, if according with the sentiments of the Executive, come with propriety from him.
Progress of opinion, &c.:—Is it perfectly right to touch on that subject? It appears to me more objectionable than the doubtful paragraph relative to compensation to sufferers under Sedition Act.
There is but one subject not mentioned in the message which I feel extremely anxious to see recommended. It is, generally, that Congress should adopt such measures as will effectually guard against misapplication of public moneys; by making specific appropriations whenever practicable; by providing against the application of moneys drawn from the Treasury under an appropriation to any other object or to any greater amount than that for which they have been drawn; by limiting discretionary powers in the application of that money, whether by heads of Department or by any other agents; and by rendering every person who receives public moneys from the Treasury as immediately, promptly, and effectually accountable to the accounting officer (the Comptroller) as practicable. The great characteristic, the flagrant vice, of the late Administration has been total disregard of laws, and application of public moneys by the Departments to objects for which they were not appropriated. Witness Pickering’s account; but if you will see a palpable proof and an evidence of the necessity of a remedy, see the Quartermaster-General’s account for five hundred thousand dollars in the office of the accountant of the War Department.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
[Received] 16th November, 1801.
I enclose some hasty remarks on the message.
The incorrectness of the documents of exports of foreign articles compels me, after much labor, to abandon the plan on which I had intended to calculate the impost, and, as the next best, I will prepare one in the following form, which rests on documents on which we may depend, being those of duties and drawbacks actually paid. For each of the ten years ending 31st December, 1800, I will take the quantity of each article paying specific duties, and the value of each class of articles paying distinct duties ad valorem, on which duties were secured, deduct from each respective article and class the quantity and value respectively on which drawbacks have been allowed, and take the difference for the quantity and value of each article consumed in the United States. On each of those articles I will calculate the duties at the rate now established by law. The result will give you the revenue which would have been collected each year on each article had the duties been the same as at present, and the total divided by ten will show the average revenue of the ten years 1791-1800, at the present rate of duties, and adding to this thirty-three and one-third per cent., the rate of increase of population in ten years as given by the census, the result will be assumed as the probable average revenue of the ten succeeding years 1801-1810, or 1802-1809, these being the eight years to which it is eligible that the calculations should apply. This will be but a rough estimate, and yet I cannot perceive any way, from our documents, to render it more correct, unless it be to subtract, from the total amount assumed as the consumption of the ten years 1791-1800, that part of the importations of 1800 not re-exported in the same year, which will, at first view, appear to be above the roughly estimated consumption of that year.
The great defect of that mode arises from its including the duties on exported articles, which, although not entitled to drawback, made no part of our consumption, and these might have been deducted had the returns of actual foreign exports been correct and properly distinguished. A deduction at random might be made, but then it would be as well to guess at the whole. Does any idea strike you which might lead to a better mode of making the calculation? Unless we have something precise, we never can with safety recommend a repeal of existing taxes.
Although I could not solve it, I thought that the problem of the annuity necessary to redeem the debt might be solved, because, although there were two unknown data, viz., the annuity and the time of redemption of one of the classes of debt (the time of the other class being 8—t), yet two equations might be formed, one term of each of which being the annuity, left an equation, with only the time not given. At all events, the approximation you have assumed is not sufficiently correct, for the annuity you fixed would, if I am not mistaken, leave about one million and half unpaid at the end of the eight years.
But the problem is, in fact, more complex than I had stated it, on account of the varieties and peculiar properties of the several kinds of debt, as you will judge by the enclosed statement.
If we cannot with the probable amount of impost and sale of lands pay the debt at the rate proposed and support the establishments on the proposed plans, one of three things must be done: either to continue the internal taxes, or to reduce the expenditure still more, or to discharge the debt with less rapidity. The last recourse, to me, is the most objectionable, not only because I am firmly of opinion that, if the present Administration and Congress do not take the most effective measures for that object, the debt will be entailed on us and the ensuing generations, together with all the systems which support it, and which it supports; but also any sinking fund operating in an increased ratio as it progresses, a very small deduction from an appropriation for that object would make a considerable difference in the ultimate term of redemption, which, provided we can, in some shape, manage the three per cents. without redeeming them at their nominal value, I think may be paid at fourteen or fifteen years.
On the other hand, if this Administration shall not reduce taxes, they never will be permanently reduced. To strike at the root of the evil and avert the danger of increasing taxes, encroaching government, temptations to offensive wars, &c., nothing can be more effectual than a repeal of all internal taxes, but let them all go, and not one remain on which sister taxes may be hereafter engrafted. I agree most fully with you that pretended tax-preparations, treasury-preparations, and army-preparations against contingent wars tend only to encourage wars. If the United States shall unavoidably be drawn into a war, the people will submit to any necessary tax, and the system of internal taxation which, then, shall be thought best adapted to the then situation of the country may be created, instead of engrafted on the old or present plan; if there shall be no real necessity for them, their abolition by this Administration will most powerfully deter any other from reviving them. A repeal now will attach as much unpopularity to them as the late direct tax has done to that mode of taxation. On those grounds, can I ask what, in your opinion, is the minimum of necessary naval and foreign intercourse expenses, including in these last all those which are under the control of the Department of State?
You will perceive in one of the notes on the message that in giving general results no provision appears for the British treaty, viz., for the £600,000 proposed to be paid in lieu of the 6 Art. This is a temporary demand, which may be met by the four following temporary resources: 1st, the excess of specie in Treasury beyond the necessary sum to be kept there; 2d, the sale of the bank shares belonging to the United States; 3d, the surplus revenue arising from internal taxes beyond the expenses, in case those internal taxes are continued, and, if practicable to discontinue them, one net year of their proceeds which is always due on them, and will be due on the day when they may cease; 4th, the balance of the direct tax due payable after the present year.
You will also see that I lay less stress on savings on the civil list than you do. Some may be made, but the total amount cannot be great. The new judiciary, the commissioners of loans, the mint, the accountants of the Navy and War Departments, seem to be the principal, if not the only, objects of reform. Of the clerks I cannot yet say much: those of the Comptroller and Auditor are less numerous and paid less in proportion than those of the Register and two accountants. Transcribing and common ones are easily obtained; good book-keepers are also everywhere to be found: it is difficult to obtain faithful examining clerks, on whose correctness and fidelity a just settlement of all the accounts depends, and still more difficult to find men of talent. My best clerk next to the principal, and who had twelve hundred dollars, has left me to take one thousand in Philadelphia. Under the present circumstances of this place, we must calculate on paying higher all the inferior officers, principally clerks, than in Philadelphia. Coming all new in the Administration, the heads of Departments must obtain a perfect knowledge of all the details before they can venture on a reform. The number of independent officers attached to the Treasury renders the task still more arduous for me. I assure you that it will take me twelve months before I can thoroughly understand every detail of all those several offices. Current business and the more general and important duties of the office do not permit to learn the lesser details but incidentally and by degrees. Until I know them all I dare not touch the machine.
The most important reform I can suggest is that of specific appropriations, to which it would be desirable to add, by abolishing the accountants, an immediate payment from the Treasury to the individuals who are to apply the money, and an immediate accounting of those individuals to the Treasury; in short, to place the War and Navy Departments in relation to the expenditures of money on the same footing on which, at Mr. Madison’s request, that of State has been placed. Enclosed is a short paper containing the principles I would propose, in which you will perceive that the discretionary powers of those Departments are intended to be checked by legal provisions, and not by transferring any discretion to another Department. What is called “illustration” on that paper is not correct.
The disappointment in the export document will necessarily delay some days the proposed result of import; but I think it will be about nine million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
The importance of correctness there renders it more eligible to wait a week longer for a more accurate estimate than to proceed now with what we have obtained. We have yet three weeks till the meeting of Congress. With sincere respect.
OUTLINES FOR SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS.
1. Specific appropriations for each object of a distinct nature, and one to embrace for each Department all contingencies, including therein every discretionary expenditure.
2. Each appropriation to refer to a calendar year, and the surplus remaining unexpended after having satisfied the demands on the appropriation for that year to be carried to the surplus fund; that is to say, to cease.
3. Warrants to issue on the requisition of the proper Department in favor of the person receiving the same, instead of issuing in the names of either the heads of Department or of the Treasurer of the United States.
4. The accountants to be abolished.
5. The head of each Department to judge, previous to a settlement of accounts, of the propriety of making advances, and to make requisitions accordingly.
6. The head of each Department to judge on a settlement of accounts of the propriety of making allowances of a discretionary nature in every case where discretion is not limited by law or uniform usage; in these last cases the Comptroller to judge.
November 28, 1801.
Th. J. to Mr. Gallatin.
Your own opinion and that of the Attorney-General are sufficient authorities to me to approve of prosecuting in the case of the schooner Sally. And I will candidly add that my judgment also concurs. The handcuffs and bolts are palpable testimonials of the intention of the voyage, and the concealment of them and their omission in the statement of the cargo, strengthens the proof. The traffic, too, is so odious that no indulgences can be claimed.
[* ]The law having given to the collectors the appointment of a number of inferior officers subject to my approbation, there is on that subject, on which we must act in concert, but one sentiment that I wish to communicate; it is, that the door of office be no longer shut against any man merely on account of his political opinions, but that whether he shall differ or not from those avowed either by you or by myself, integrity and capacity suitable to the station be the only qualifications that shall direct our choice.
[1 ]The repeated allusions to Campbell and Gardner in the text will perhaps be better understood from the following letter :
ANTHONY CAMPBELL TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
No. 297 Arch Street,Philadelphia, October 12, 1801.
I am sorry a combination of circumstances which I neither could foresee nor expect compels me to address you, but I feel convinced, when you are informed that necessity and self-defence urge the measure, you will excuse the liberty. Had my communications to Mr. Gallatin upon an interesting subject been treated with that politeness and attention which from his character I had a right to expect, I most certainly would not have troubled you.
It is painful for me to relate, after upwards of sixteen months’ disappointment and difficulties, that the exposition of the defalcations and peculations which took place under the former Administration originated with me. As a clerk in the office of the Auditor of the Treasury of the United States, on a review of the different accounts presented for adjustment, but particularly those of Messrs. Pickering and Dayton, I felt that indignation which I suppose every honest man does on becoming acquainted with a breach of trust, either public or private. Not bound by oath of office or any other moral obligation to secrecy, I did consider it an imperious duty to make the people of the United States acquainted with the fraudulent conduct of their agents. Accordingly, early in the month of June, 1800, I called on Mr. Israel Israel, and informed him that I was in possession of information which I intended to publish, and I trusted the publication would be the happy means of turning the current of public opinion against a party whose measures were in open hostility against Republicanism, and whose removal from power was my most ardent wish. I then handed him six copies of the accounts of Mr. Pickering, in whose hands at that time an unaccounted balance of upwards of half a million of dollars remained, and one copy of the account of Mr. Dayton, as agent for paying the compensation due to members of the House of Representatives, upon which at that time a large unaccounted balance remained in his hands from different sessions of Congress. I requested the editor of the “Aurora” might be sent for; consequently, that afternoon an interview took place, when the aforesaid seven copies of the Auditor’s reports on the accounts of Messrs. Pickering and Dayton were put in the hands of Mr. Duane for the purpose of publication. Soon after this part of the transaction, in consequence of the removal of government to Washington, all the clerks, another and myself excepted, were sent to that place. At that time of almost general suspension of public business I had more leisure than usual, which I employed taking cursory reviews of the accounts of individuals in the public service, and found that delinquents were numerous, and consisted of influential characters in the departments of finance.
Some doubts remaining on the mind of Mr. Israel as to the authenticity of the reports of the accounts of Pickering and Dayton, and being apprehensive that Mr. Duane might be led into error by publishing them, in order to do away every doubt and to be able by respectable testimony to refute all attempts that might be made to invalidate the intended publications, I did voluntarily and without the previous knowledge of any person whatever convey the book containing these accounts to Mr. Israel’s house, where, in the presence of John Beckley, Israel Israel, Samuel Israel, auctioneer, William Duane, and myself, the former copies were compared, and others equally as important were taken off, purt of which were afterwards published in the “Aurora.” . . .
During the agitation and discussions produced by these publications in the “Aurora,” “American Citizen,” &c., and the fortunate change that consequently took place in the public mind, some claimed the merit, while I remained silent and was sacrificed. But, sir, I solemnly assure you that no other person had any share in exposing those delinquencies but myself, except some assistance afforded me by William P. Gardner, then a clerk in the Auditor’s office. For the truth of this assertion I refer to Mr. Gallatin, having sent him certificates to substantiate that fact, and to prove the rectitude of my moral character, some time ago. . . .