Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1802: GALLATIN TO JOSEPH H. NICHOLSON, M.C. A MEMORANDUM. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 1
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1802: GALLATIN TO JOSEPH H. NICHOLSON, M.C. A MEMORANDUM. - 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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GALLATIN TO JOSEPH H. NICHOLSON, M.C.
January 19, 1802.
The objects of inquiry for your committee are:
1st. How are moneys drawn out of the Treasury?
2d. How are they expended?
3d. How are they accounted for?
In relation to each object:
1st. What are the checks provided by law?
2d. How have these been adhered to?
3d. Are they sufficient to enforce economy and accountability?
4th. What improvements can be adopted?
You may write me a letter asking generally information on those subjects, or if you prefer a less methodical arrangement and to put more pointed queries, I have written some on the next page, which, I believe, embrace all those objects.
Under what checks, founded either on law or usage, are moneys paid out of the Treasury?
To whom are those moneys paid?
Under whose control, and what checks, are moneys drawn out of the Treasury expended by the agents or Departments to whom the same may have been advanced?
What construction has been put on the appropriation laws by the Treasury Department, and by the several agents or Departments to whom moneys are advanced?
Have moneys been always paid by the Treasury and applied by the agents or Departments in conformity to the laws authorizing expenses and making appropriations for the same?
To whom and in what manner are the receivers of public moneys accountable?
In what situation are now the accounts of persons who have received moneys from the Treasury? and where any remain unsettled, what are the causes?
What is particularly the situation of accounts for moneys advanced to the Secretary of State, or to the War and Navy Departments?
Are the checks under which public moneys are expended sufficient to enforce a due application to the objects for which they are advanced?
Can any mode be devised by which more efficient checks, in relation to the public expenditure, shall be adopted, and the accountability of those who receive moneys from the Treasury be better enforced, without embarrassing the public service?1
GALLATIN TO WILLIAM B. GILES, M.C.2
Treasury Department, 13th February, 1802.
I have examined in consequence of our conversation the articles of compact which make part of our territorial ordinance. The more I have reflected on the subject, the more forcibly have I been impressed with the importance of making some actual provision which may secure to the United States the proceeds of the sales of the Western lands, so far at least as the same may be necessary to discharge the public debt, for which they are solemnly pledged.
That part of the system of taxation adopted in the North-West Territory which relates to non-resident owners, undoubtedly affects the value of the public lands, and will eventually diminish the amount of sales. Yet, upon due consideration, there is but one provision which, in my opinion, would be inconsistent with the rights of the United States, as secured by the articles of compact. An attempt on the part of the Legislature of the Territory or new State to render lands sold under the laws of Congress, but for which no patent has yet issued, liable to be sold for non-payment of taxes, would interfere with the regulations adopted by Congress for the “primary disposal of the soil;” since, by these, the lands remained mortgaged to the United States until after complete payment of the purchase-money, and in case of failure thereof are directed to be sold.
But it does not appear to me that the United States have a right to annex new conditions, not implied in the articles of compact, limiting the legislative right of taxation of the Territory or new State. The limitations which they may rightfully impose are designated by the articles themselves, and these being unalterable, unless by common consent, all legislative powers which of right pertain to an independent State must be exercised at the discretion of the Legislature of the new State, unless limited by articles, or by the Constitution of the United States or of the new State.
Indeed, the United States have no greater right to annex new limitations than the individual State may have to infringe those of the original compact. And I cannot see that this position can in any degree be altered by the circumstance of admitting into the Union, in pursuance of the express provision of the articles, a State on an earlier day than that on which it must necessarily be admitted. The conditions inserted in the 4th article of compact in relation to that object, and which constitute all that Congress thought, at the time, necessary to reserve in order to secure to the Union their right to the soil, are: 1st, that the Legislatures of the districts or new States shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by Congress; nor with any regulations which Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers; 2d, that no tax shall be imposed on the property of the United States; and, 3d, that in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. Farther than that Congress cannot demand, and it is on account of the second provision that the district State Legislature has not a right to tax, or at least to sell for non-payment of taxes, the lands on which, although sold, the United States still retain a lien.
It follows that if it be in a high degree, as I believe it is, the interest of the United States to obtain some further security against an injurious sale, under the Territorial or State laws, of lands sold by them to individuals, justice not less than policy requires that it should be obtained by common consent: and as it is not to be expected that the new State Legislature shall assent to any alteration in their system of taxation which may affect the revenue of the State, unless an equivalent is offered which it may be their interest to accept, I would submit the propriety of inserting in the Act of admission a clause or clauses to that effect, leaving it altogether optional in the State Convention or Legislature to accept or reject the same.
The equivalent to be offered must be such as shall not affect the value of the pledge which the public creditors now have by the appropriation of the lands, and as shall be fully acceptable to the State, and at the same time prove generally beneficial, either in a political or commercial view, to the Union at large. And it appears to me that the following provision would fully answer those several objects, viz.: that, provided that the Convention or Legislature of the State shall assent that each and every tract of land sold by Congress shall be exempt from any tax raised by or under the authority of the State, whether for State, county, or township, or any other purpose, for the term of ten years from and after the completion of the payment of the purchase-money on such tract to the United States;
The United States shall on their part agree:
1st. That the section No. 16 in every township sold or directed to be sold by the United States, shall be granted to the inhabitants of such township for the use of schools.
2d. That the six miles reservation, including the Salt Springs, commonly called the Scioto Salt Springs, shall be granted to the new State in trust for the people thereof, the same to be used under such regulations, terms, and conditions as the Legislature of the said State shall direct, provided that the said Legislature shall never sell nor lease the same for a longer term than NA years.
3d. That one-tenth part of the net proceeds of the lands hereafter sold by Congress shall, after deducting all expenses incident to the same, be applied towards laying out and making turnpike or other roads, first from the navigable waters emptying into the Atlantic to the Ohio, and afterwards continued through the new State; such roads to be laid out under the authority of Congress, with the consent of the several States through which the same shall pass. That such conditions instead of diminishing would greatly increase the value of the lands and of the pledge to the public creditors, and that they would be highly beneficial and acceptable to the people of the new State, cannot be doubted. And they are particularly recommended as among the most eligible which may be suggested, from the following considerations:
The provision for schools, exclusively of its intrinsic usefulness, made a part of the former ordinance of Congress for the sale of lands; the grant has actually been made in the sales to the Ohio Company and to J. C. Symmes: and although the ordinance be no longer in force, and such a grant be no part of the articles of compact, yet it has always been at least hoped by the inhabitants of the Territory that it would be generally extended.
The grant of the Scioto Salt Springs will at present be considered as the most valuable, and alone would, most probably, induce a compliance on the part of the new State with the condition proposed by Congress. And if it is considered that at least one-half of the future population of that district will draw their salt from that source, the propriety of preventing the monopoly of that article falling into the hands of any private individual can hardly be disputed.
The tenth part of the proceeds of the lands, as it will be co-extensive with the sales, will continue to be considered as an equivalent until the sales are completed, and after the present grant might have ceased to operate on the minds of the people of the new State. The roads will be as beneficial to the parts of the Atlantic States through which they are to pass, and nearly as much so to a considerable portion of the Union, as to the North-West Territory itself. But a due attention to the particular geographical situation of that Territory and of the adjacent western districts of the Atlantic States, will not fail to impress you strongly with the importance of that provision in a political point of view, so far as it will contribute towards cementing the bonds of the Union between those parts of the United States whose local interests have been considered as most dissimilar.
I have the honor to be, &c.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Department of Treasury,
The Bank of Pennsylvania applies for relief; they fall regularly one hundred thousand dollars per week in debt to the Bank of the United States, on account, as they say, of the deposits on account of government made in the last. For a sketch of their situation, compared with that of the Bank of United States, see the within paper. Their cashier is here, come on purpose for assistance. In addition to the effect of governmental deposits, it is evident that they have extended their discounts too far.
They say that these cannot at once be curtailed without ruining their customers, who consist chiefly of retail shopkeepers. Those for whom the Bank United States discounts are generally importers. There are but three means of affording them relief: 1st, write to Bank United States to spare them; 2d, deposit three hundred thousand dollars with them, or direct collector Philadelphia to deposit part of his public moneys with them; 3d, contract with them for part of Dutch debt, which, as we always pay considerably beforehand, will have the effect of a deposit.
I have proposed the last; but if we cannot agree on terms, should either of the two other modes be adopted?
It is proper to prevent the exclusive monopoly in hands of Bank United States, but it is not proper to displease them, because they place instantly our money where we may want it, from one end of the Union to the other, which is done on the tacit condition of our leaving our deposits with them, and because if we shall be hard run and want money, to them we must apply for a loan.1
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 3, 1802.
* * * * * * * * * *
P.S.—What are the subjects on which the next session of Congress is to be employed? It is not too early to think of it. I know but of two: 1. The militia law. 2. The reformation of the civil list recommended to them at the last meeting, but not taken up through want of time and preparation; that preparation must be made by us. An accurate statement of the original amount and subsequent augmentations or diminutions of the public debt, to be continued annually, is an article on which we have conferred before. A similar statement of the annual expenses of the government for a certain period back, and to be repeated annually, is another wholesome necessity we should impose on ourselves and our successors. Our court calendar should be completed.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, August 9, 1802.
I arrived here last week, and found much business to do, but principally mere details, with which I will not trouble you.
A second report has come to hand in relation to the Delaware piers, recommending Reedy Island in lieu of Marcus Hook. Finding three persons to have been appointed by order of the State of Delaware superintendents to erect piers at New Castle, I wrote to them for information in relation to that spot; and when that shall have been received will forward the whole to you.
The collector of Norfolk, instead of sending the detailed estimate of the repairs necessary for the hospital, transmitted one consisting only of four items, and amounting to near eleven thousand dollars. I wrote him again for details; but finding one of the items for six hundred dollars to be for that wing which is now occupied by the seamen, and which, by the representation of the collector, and General Dearborn’s statement, was so leaky that the sick were shifted from place to place whenever it rained, I thought those repairs might be immediately authorized without waiting for your official approbation, which I knew, under those circumstances, would not be refused.
I have written to you two official letters, one relating to the appointment of a light-house keeper, the other enclosing a set of regulations for the Mississippi trade. These I wish you would be good enough to examine as soon as convenient, and to return with your approbation or alterations, as I only wait for their return to despatch a circular, after which I will take an excursion to the hills.
I enclose the recommendation for Slade’s Creek, the only one which I have received, and, for your recollection, enclose also your letter to me of the 2d ult., as it relates to Jasper. I think Tooly may be appointed. General Dearborn has written to you that Lyman is gone to Europe, and has, I suppose, recommended Cross in his place for Newburyport, and he has also, I presume, written that Warren will not accept Marblehead.
For this last place W. R. Lee recommends Joseph Wilson; his letter I enclose. There are blank commissions left at the Secretary of State’s office which will be filled for both places as you may direct. I stopped just in time the commissions for Lyman and Warren and the Comptroller’s letters of dismission to Tyng and Gerry. Smith had, however, published in his papers the intended appointments; but that will not prevent the dismissed officers from continuing to act till the successors shall have been appointed. Crowninshield writes from Salem that Lee is an improper appointment; is that well grounded, or mere clannish prejudice? If the first, it is really extremely wrong in our friends to give such erroneous information, for who could be more strongly recommended than Lee? But Crowninshield recommends John Gibault, who to me, by an old personal friend, a clergyman in Salem, had been very strongly recommended, but on hearing the manner in which Lee was spoken of, did not even mention Gibault’s name. He would have certainly been better for Salem. C. now recommends him for Gloucester (the only port in Essex left untouched) instead of Tuck, whom he represents as worse than Tyng. I suppose General Dearborn has written all this, and have mentioned it only in order to say that under present information, and for the purpose of pacifying Salem, I would not think it wrong to appoint Wilson, Cross, and Gibault in lieu of Tyng, Gerry, Tuck, for Newburyport, Marblehead, Gloucester. Lee has got his Salem commission. Had I seen Crowninshield’s letter I would also have stopped it (as Lee was willing to take Marblehead), till you had had the whole subject once more before you.
Appearances are stormy at New York; the schism disgusts many Republicans, is fomented by the Federalists. Wood’s pamphlet has done and will do no inconsiderable injury. Everything seems placid in Pennsylvania, though the party makes a tolerable ingenious argument out of M.’s appointment. I apprehend we have lost some ground in New Jersey; it is said we have gained in Delaware. I doubt it.
With affection and respect, your obedient servant.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 9, 1802.
We have received information that the Emperor of Morocco, having asked, and been refused, passports for two vessels loaded with wheat to go to Tripoli while blockaded by us, has ordered away our consul. This demand of his is so palpably against reason and the usage of nations as to bespeak a settled design of war against us, or a general determination to make common cause with any of the Barbary powers at war with us. I had just written him a friendly letter, to accompany one hundred gun-carriages asked by him of the former Administration; but the state of things is so changed that it will not be proper now to send these. We expect the Boston to return shortly: there will then remain there the Chesapeake, Constellation, and Adams, of which we had thought of recalling one, as two were deemed sufficient for Tripoli. It is now a question whether we should not leave the three there, and whether we should send another? And a very important question is, what is the nature of the orders which should be given to the commanders of our vessels in the Mediterranean with respect to Morocco? As circumstances look towards war, I have asked the opinions of the heads of Departments on the preceding questions, and will beg the favor of yours by return of post; the General Greene being probably detained to carry our orders, if you will take the trouble of calling at the Navy Office, you can see the letters of Simpson and Morris on this occasion. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 14, 1802.
I have duly considered the regulations concerning the Mississippi trade enclosed in your letter of the 7th, and should have signed them but that a single fact, perhaps unknown to you, renders them impracticable without some alteration. Neither Spain nor France allows any foreign nation to keep a consul in their colonies in time of peace. In consequence of this, our consul at New Orleans has had his functions suspended by the governor, and peremptorily inhibited from the use of them. I think it even doubtful whether they would permit us to have there even an informal agent to exercise any public duty. We are endeavoring by negotiation to have New Orleans considered as so peculiarly situated with respect to us as to require an exemption from their general rule; but even if we obtain it, time will be requisite, and in the mean while some other provision should be made. It would be well, if possible, to make such provisions as could be executed at Fort Adams, and render the touching at New Orleans as indifferent as at any other foreign port. If this be impossible, we may try the substitution of an informal agent at New Orleans; but still some provision should be made for the case of his being disallowed. When you shall have made the necessary alterations I shall be ready to sign them.
With respect to the fifth section, taking from coasting vessels employed in this trade the privilege of carrying any foreign articles, if yourself and Mr. Steele concurred in this, I should be content with it; but if you were of a different opinion, I should join you on the general principle of never imposing a restriction which can be done without.
The newspapers tell us Mr. Clarke is returned to New York or Philadelphia; this will delay Dr. Bache’s departure till we can inform him what he is to do there. I am in hopes Mr. Clarke will be able to arrange the details of the plan here, and to give such orders at New Orleans as will begin the establishment, and provide the field for Dr. Bache to act on. Will you be so good as to engage him to do this, and to give the necessary information to Dr. Bache? We have been unfortunate in the delays of this institution. Accept my constant and affectionate esteem.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 14, 1802.
In your letter of the 9th instant you propose the following arrangement:
Wilson vice Tyng, Newburyport; Cross vice Gerry, Marblehead; Gibault vice Tuck, Gloucester.
Which I imagine should be thus:
Cross vice Tyng, Newburyport; Wilson vice Gerry, Marblehead; Gibault vice Tuck, Gloucester.
I suppose this, because it is consonant with Lee’s letter enclosed by you with General Dearborn’s letter, and with what I recollect of former conferences, wherein Cross was placed in competition with Lyman for Newburyport. As Tyng and Gerry are to go out, this arrangement is approved; with respect to Gibault vice Tuck, my only hesitation arises from the proposition being new, and proceeding too, as far as I see, from a single person, Captain Crowninshield. I have been taught to have great confidence in him, yet we all know how frequent it is for the best persons to be warped as to personal character by views peculiar to themselves, and not agreeing with the general opinion. Of this he furnishes an instance in his opinion of Lee, whose recommendations are from many of the first characters in Massachusetts, and are so strong that could they be doubted, all confidence in any degree of recommendation must be given up. I think too that General Dearborn and Mr. Lincoln both concurred in considering Lee as entitled to our first favors. Still, if General Dearborn and yourself (for I suppose Mr. Smith not to be with you) are satisfied that Tuck ought to be removed on the ground of active opposition to the present government,—that is to say, if the fact be that he is actively opposed,—I approve of that change also, and think if it is to take place, it had better be at the same time with the others. Will you be so good as to communicate this to General Dearborn, as I am pressed in time by other business? The appointment of Henry Tooly to be surveyor at Slade’s Creek is approved. Accept assurances of my great esteem and respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Treasury Department, 16th August, 1802.
I received this morning your letter of the 9th instant on the subject of Morocco and the Barbary powers. The arrangement of the mail between this and Monticello is not favorable, since this answer to yours of the 9th cannot leave Washington before to-morrow evening, 17th. This I regret, as time on such occasions is precious. I will write on the supposition that you have received the account of the engagement of the Boston with the Tunisian flotilla, which, although we have not yet received any confirmation, carries, unfortunately, strong marks of its being true.
Our object must clearly be to put a speedy end to a contest which unavailingly wastes our resources, and which we cannot, for any considerable time, pursue with vigor without relinquishing the accomplishment of the great and beneficial objects we have in view. The most ample powers and orders if practicable to make peace, and a sufficient force to protect, and at least have time to withdraw, our Mediterranean trade, appear to me necessary. In respect to peace, taking it for granted that the instructions for Tripoli are sufficient, there remain Morocco and Tunis. However contrary to the usage of civilized nations the pretensions of Morocco may be, we cannot decide whether they are considered as unreasonable by a nation not within the pale of civilization, and the conduct of Morocco has certainly been far from unfriendly since our treaty with that country.
That treaty has been till now faithfully adhered to by the Emperor; he has shown no disposition to favor Algiers during our negotiations with that regency, and he even evinced forbearance during his blockade of a rebellious port.
Hence I am not without hopes that he may still be smoothed, and I would at all events send the gun-carriages which had been promised, in order that our negotiator may be able to give them if they shall be useful in bringing on a friendly arrangement; nor do I see any objection to sending the intended letter, properly modified to accord with the present circumstances.
And if Simpson can be fully trusted with a negotiation of that kind, I would also, out of the general Mediterranean appropriation, send twenty or thirty thousand dollars, which may be wanted either there or at Tunis to assist in accommodating differences. As to Tunis, I would not hesitate to promise an indemnity if McNeil shall have been the aggressor; in that supposition it is due in justice to them as much as it would to any other nation under similar circumstances, and to refuse it would be an inducement to Algiers to make a common cause, since there would be no security to any of the Barbary powers, whilst we had a frigate left in the Mediterranean, if we shall countenance an interference of that kind.
As to the force necessary there I feel no hesitation. The Secretary of the Navy had consulted me before I received your letter, and I advised that Captain Morris should be immediately instructed to retain the Boston in case hostilities should have commenced either with Tunis or Morocco, and that the General Greene should be sent with her full complement of men instead of going half manned. Mr. Smith has since informed me that that frigate, which was originally a merchant vessel, being a bad fighting vessel, he had substituted the New York to her. That change, of which I am no judge, was, I take for granted, necessary; the difference of expense between the two vessels is at the rate of twenty-five thousand dollars a year.
If there is war with Morocco, no less than four frigates are necessary, viz.: two at Tripoli, one at least in the vicinity of the gut to convoy our vessels in and out, and one off Sallee, to protect principally our Madeira and other island trade, if not to blockade effectually that port. I do not know whether Morocco has any other ports from which cruising vessels (not boats) can sail on the Atlantic.
If Tunis is also at war, five frigates will hardly be sufficient, as three frigates could not keep in constant blockade the ports of that regency and Tripoli. If we had two small ships instead of one of our large frigates, they could, I think, be more advantageously disposed; but we have no option, and it is clear that we cannot do less than to provide the five frigates under present circumstances, which will be effected if the Boston is kept and the New York sent; but I much apprehend that if we have to encounter Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco, we will be compelled to give up the Mediterranean trade and be satisfied with defending the gut. Under that impression, I sincerely wish you could reconcile it to yourself to empower our negotiators to give, if necessary for peace, an annuity to Tripoli. I consider it no greater disgrace to pay them than Algiers. And indeed we share the dishonor of paying those barbarians with so many nations as powerful and interested as ourselves, that, in our present situation, I consider it a mere matter of calculation whether the purchase of peace is not cheaper than the expense of a war, which shall not even give us the free use of the Mediterranean trade.
It is also worth considering, that the capture of some of our merchantmen would, at all events, ultimately compel us to pay much more for their redemption than the value of an annual tribute. Eight years hence we shall, I trust, be able to assume a different tone; but our exertions at present consume the seeds of our greatness and retard to an indefinite time the epoch of our strength.
As our present differences with Morocco have taken rise in the war with Tripoli, it is probable that peace with this power would terminate the hostilities with the Emperor. Might not that man’s pride be flattered with an intimation either that his offices would not be rejected if he chose to act as mediator, or that a wish to preserve harmony with him contributes in accelerating our endeavors to make a reasonable peace with Tripoli?
The application of the force in the Mediterranean towards Tunis and Morocco, in case of hostilities existing between either of those powers and ourselves, appears to me a matter of course.
The Executive cannot declare war, but if war is made, whether declared by Congress or by the enemy, the conduct must be the same, to protect our vessels, and to fight, take, and destroy the armed vessels of that enemy. The only case which admits of doubt is whether, in case of such war actually existing, we should confine our hostilities to their armed vessels or extend them by capture or blockade to the trade. The policy of adopting either course must depend on the power we may have to injure that commerce. How far are they commercial and liable to be affected by an attack upon that commerce? Something may also depend on the personal disposition of the sovereigns of the two countries. If there is hope of peace by a conciliating conduct, perhaps it might be better, whilst we offer it, to show our favorable disposition by only doing what is strictly self-defence, fighting their cruisers. I presume that in that particular respect some discretion must be left to our commanding officer.
Whatever shall be done, I think that no delay ought to take place. The New York will, it is said, be ready to sail in ten days, say a fortnight. She should not be detained, and the instructions should be sent by her.
I do not know that anything else occurs to my mind. You will, I hope, excuse the incorrectness of these hastily-digested ideas. I have only to add that our Mediterranean appropriation is on account of the twenty-four thousand dollars sent by the Adams to Cathcart, and of the heavy drafts made by Eaton, reduced to forty-four thousand dollars. The thirty thousand dollars destined for Algiers will be taken from another appropriation made especially for that object.
The naval appropriations will be sufficient to fit the New York, but we will be embarrassed if the Boston shall return before the meeting of Congress. That is, I believe, owing to miscalculation in the estimate of repairs, which, especially for the Constitution, have cost much more than had been estimated.
I remain, with attachment and respect, your obedient servant.
I had forgotten to say that Mr. Smith suggested the idea of joining Morris to Cathcart for the negotiation with Tripoli. That would have been desirable, in order to provide against accidents; and in the instructions which may be sent to treat with Morocco, and conditionally with Tunis, it would not be amiss that two persons should be named, either of whom might act.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Washington, August 20, 1802.
I have received your letter of the 14th inst., in which you justly correct my transposition of Newburyport and Marblehead. General Dearborn approves of Tuck’s removal, but as there is no inconvenience in waiting a week longer, and we have been rather unfortunate in selecting individuals who could not or would not accept, I have concluded to wait for your answer to this letter before I would send any of the three commissions to those Essex ports. I have made a report in the case of Head; if you approve, a commission will be filled with the name of such person as General Dearborn will recommend, it being in his own vicinity, and all those commissions may then go together. There is another case which does not admit of delay: it is the collectorship of Petersburg. Heath has received his letter of dismission, and, Mr. Page not accepting, we have no collector; nor is it very clear how far the surveyor, of whom I know nothing, can act if Heath has ceased his functions.
Since my last you will have heard that Morocco has declared war. By the letters which Robert Smith has shown me, it appears that their force consists, first and principally, of row-boats, which, I understand, never go out of sight of the coast; secondly, of half-galleys at Tetuan, which, as well as Tangier, is within the straits; thirdly, of frigates at Rhabat, the modern name of Sallee, and on the Atlantic. This seems to require three frigates, one to convoy our vessels through the gut, by alternately sailing from Cadiz to Malaga, which will be sufficient protection against the boats; one to blockade Tetuan, without which the half-galleys will sail through the Mediterranean beyond Malaga; and a third to block up Rhabat alias Sallee. I do not know that the Moors have any other ports on the Mediterranean but Tangier and Tetuan; but I am confident that they have some others on the Atlantic, perhaps none north, but at least one south, of Sallee, the same which the Emperor kept blockaded, but the name of which I forget (Magadura, I believe). I mention this to show the necessity of peace; we never had calculated on a war with Morocco, which affects not only our Mediterranean, but also our Madeira and Atlantic trade.
If Tunis has made war, our situation will be still worse; yet, as they are a commercial people, there is less danger. On reading the Morocco treaty, I find that captives are not to be treated as slaves, that an exchange is provided for, and that the balance is to be paid by the losing party at one hundred dollars per head; the whole is arranged like the rules by which gamesters agree to play; and it is presumed that the Emperor wants money.
This, however, must be attended to in the instructions to our officers; we must try to make prisoners; if we win, his Majesty may be disposed to cease playing. If you attend to the latter part of the 3d Article of the same treaty, you will, I think, find the reason which he may allege in support of his pretensions. Yet the doctrine of blockade (which is not made an exception in that treaty to the general rule laid down in the 3d Article) is not unknown to the Emperor, since he has practised upon it; perhaps, however, their understanding was only that no foreign nation had a right to assist rebels. I can add nothing but to repeat my wishes for peace, and express my anxiety that no delay may take place in the measures adopted at the present moment. Had the instructions to Cathcart arrived before Morocco had declared war, we should be at present at peace with both.
With respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
I wish much to be out of this city at this time, but will wait until the result of your determination in that business is ascertained.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 20, 1802.
Your favors of the 16th and 17th were received the last night; the contents of the latter shall now be distinctly noted.
Commissioner of bankruptcy at Poughkeepsie. I have proposed a general arrangement to the Secretary of State which may save the necessity of appointments over the whole face of every State, ninety-nine out of one hundred of which would never be called on to act, and would yet give opportunities of indulging favoritism by enlarging the field of selection. The answer not yet received.
Mr. Nourse’s certificate retained for investigation.
The successor to Claud Thomson, collector of Brunswick, Georgia. I will sign the commission when received from you; the papers are returned.
Letters respecting unauthorized advances by our consuls retained, and shall be returned, after a conference with Mr. Madison, by next post.
Surveyor of Portsmouth. I observe Penhallow’s recommendation is the effect of solicitation, as is evident by so many signatures to one formula. Langdon and Whipple’s opinions in favor of Wentworth, the facts they mention, General Dearborn’s preference of him, and yours, as I infer, induce me to prefer him also; I am, therefore, ready to sign the commission. I retain the recommendations.
Wood’s commission as register of the land office at Marietta I have signed, and will carry on to be signed by Mr. Madison and forwarded. I retain the recommendation.
Hiller’s resignation returned.
Mr. Short will be here in three days. I will consult with him about the books to be bought in Paris.
On Mr. Jones’s return I will thank you to think again of the letters in the case of Mr. Short and E. Randolph.
I have not heard from Mr. Page, and should much wonder at his declining the appointment at Petersburg. Should he do so, there can be no question as to the substitute. Dr. Shore’s appointment would be more locally popular, and very much so generally. He has every right to it.
I have received the address of two-thirds of the merchants of Newburyport on the subject of Tyng’s removal, and praying a reconsideration. It is impudently malignant. I shall not notice it.
That Louisiana is to be possessed by France is probable; that any man in America has undoubted authority that it will be so I do not think.
The last post brings me the opinions of the Secretaries at War and of the Navy, as well as yours, on our Barbary affairs. I had before asked and received that of the Secretary of State; but as his did not go to all the points arising out of the others, and explanations by letter might lose us a post or two, I shall immediately on closing my mail for this day’s post set out to Mr. Madison’s, so that the next post shall carry definitive arrangements to Washington, where it will arrive on Tuesday (24th) at 8 p.m. The movements of our post do not seem to be understood with you: they are as follows:
Fridays and Tuesdays, at 7 p.m. leaves Washington. Sundays and Thursdays, at noon arrives at Milton. Mondays and Fridays, at 1 p.m. leaves Milton. Tuesdays and Saturdays, at 8 p.m. arrives at Washington. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 23, 1802.
Your three letters of August 18, 19, and 20 are received. I now return you the Mississippi regulations signed. I should think the modification you propose, of inserting “vice-consul or other authorized agent,” a necessary one. It appears proper to remove Head, of Waldoborough, as his failure, after such warning, to render his accounts is a sure symptom that he is using the public money, and I shall be ready to sign a commission for anybody recommended by General Dearborn. I have never heard a word from Mr. Page of his non-acceptance, nor, I imagine, have you, as you do not say so. The fact is too much to be apprehended from his letters to Dr. Tucker, mentioned by you. Should he decline, I believe there can be no competition with Dr. John Shore for the office, for whom, therefore, a commission may be made out; there has been a time when he would have accepted it, and I am in hopes he will now.
I had written yesterday to Mr. Smith, after a conference with Mr. Madison on the measures to be pursued with respect to the Barbary powers in the state of things as supposed to exist at the date of your letter of August 16. The receipt of another letter from him, after mine of yesterday had gone to the post-office, informs me of the declaration of war by the Emperor of Morocco. I have this day written a second letter to Mr. Smith, making the alterations in the former, which are rendered necessary by this circumstance, and particularly approving of his proposition to send another frigate in addition to the New York. But for particulars I must refer you to those letters, which I have asked him to communicate to yourself and General Dearborn. I wish much to hear that you have left the Federal city, as I think the danger of remaining there great in this season; nothing else would prevent my going there now, as the transaction of the public business here is infinitely more laborious than it would be there, and leaves it in my power to be of little use to my private matters. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, August 30, 1802.
Yours of the 27th was received yesterday; mine of the 20th had informed you that I approved of Mr. Wentworth on the recommendations of Messrs. Langdon and Whipple, and that of the 24th gave you the name of John Shore as successor to Heath; but I write by this post to Mr. Madison to order his commission to be filled up and forwarded. I must take time to inquire for a good successor for Reynolds. The commission for Bloodgood for Albany is approved, the application for it left to yourself, as you are on the spot. I enclose for your perusal a petition from the merchants of Marblehead in favor of Gerry; before receiving it I had written to his brother that a second appointment had rendered it impossible to do anything, which is my view of the case; return the petition if you please. I enclose you a letter from Maury and Hampton, giving reason to apprehend an attempt at smuggling some French negroes into our country; although this will, of course, be met by the several State authorities, yet I think it would be proper and indeed incumbent on us that you should write a circular letter to the custom-house officers to be on the alter to detect and prevent such an attempt to smuggle in these unfortunate creatures. I sincerely lament your stay at Washington, and fear that even if you have been able to leave it, it is only to carry the seeds of serious illness elsewhere. Long experience and observation have taught me to fly the tide-water in August and September; no other considerations would keep me from Washington in the present state of affairs, but I know that to go there to transact them would shortly put it out of my power to transact them at all. I hope my bodings of your situation will prove false, and that this, though directed, as you desire, to Washington, will find you at New York in health. Accept my affectionate esteem and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 8, 1802.
I have received from Delaware another application on the subject of the piers, &c., to be erected in their river. It is on behalf of Wilmington, which prays to have its claim for these things taken into consideration with others, and for this purpose that the corporation be authorized to have a report made of their harbor, creek, &c. The style of the corporation is the Burgesses and Assistants of the Borough of Wilmington. I suppose it proper to hear all claims on this subject and adopt what is best. The date of the letter to me is of August 25, and, as you have passed through Wilmington since, possibly you may have received the same application and taken order in it.
On receiving authentic information that the Emperor of Morocco had recalled our consul and allowed six months for explanation, I have countermanded the sailing of the John Adams. Information from Tunis gives us to believe that that power was in perfect good dispositions towards us. We hear nothing authentic of the affair of the Boston, but hope, if true, it will not occasion a breach. Tunis is soliciting a peace for Tripoli, by authority from its Bey, so that I trust all will be smoothed in that quarter; a little money must be given to Morocco. Accept my friendly salutations and respect.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
New York, 9th September, 1802.
I have been here four days, and have felt the effects of my late stay in Washington; I am now recovered, but lament that the situation of that place should be an impediment to that constant superintendence which is so essentially necessary in the Treasury Department. On the 20th instant I intend leaving this place with my family, and expect to be at the seat of government before the end of the month.
In my own Department I have nothing of any importance to communicate. The commissions to Cross and to Wilson for Newburyport and Marblehead have been forwarded. Mr. Brent, of the Department of State, has been instructed to forward that to John Shore for Petersburg. That for Gibault vice Tuck for Gloucester I have enclosed in a private letter to Captain Crowninshield, with a request that he should make positive inquiries as to the propriety of the appointment and removal, and the certainty of Gibault accepting, and, in case of any impediment, that he should return the new commission to me to be cancelled, and keep the matter, in that case, in silence. I have yet no information for Oswego and Brunswick (Georgia), and wait for your instructions in relation to Yorktown (Virginia). When I transmitted the recommendation for Wentworth as surveyor of Portsmouth (New Hampshire), I also sent letters from Messrs. Whipple and Langdon making recommendations for master and mate of the revenue cutter there. The cutter is ready, and the commissions, which are ready signed and in my possession, should be transmitted. Will you be pleased to signify your approbation, and to send me the names and Christian names of the two persons recommended, as I have preserved no copy?
I was sorry to find that you had approved the sending of another frigate (the John Adams), as I do not believe that it was necessary, and the appropriations for that object were exhausted. In recommending the sending the New York, I went as far as those appropriations would permit, and did not know that application had been made to you for another until after it was done and the mail closed. Edward Livingston has not yet rendered his account of bonds put in suit, and is gone to Virginia; I continue very uneasy on that account.
I wrote to Colonel Lee, the new collector of Salem, who had recommended Wilson as successor of Gerry, and whose name (Wilson) appears to the petition in favor of Gerry, that his removal was indispensable. The petition is returned.
I enclose a letter from Colonel Hay, of Vermont, but have informed his friends here that the French would not admit any consuls in their West India colonies.
I am, with great respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 13, 1802.
On learning the death of Wm. Reynolds, collector of York, and that Mr. Griffin, his deputy, would not act at all, I made immediate inquiries for a proper successor, and learn that William Carey, of the same place, is the best person we can appoint. I this day desire Mr. Madison to order a commission. I have done this because of the urgency of the case, of your distance, and my presence on the spot.
I have always forgotten to ask of you a general idea of the effect of the peace on our revenues so far as we have gone. It is of the utmost importance, if these diminish, to diminish our expenses; this may be done in the Naval Department. I wish it were possible to increase the impost on any articles affecting the rich chiefly, to the amount of the sugar tax, so that we might relinquish that at the next session. But this must depend on our receipts keeping up. As to the tea and coffee tax, the people do not regard it. The next tax which an increase of revenue should enable us to suppress should be the salt tax, perhaps; indeed, the production of that article at home is already undermining that tax.
I have desired the offices to forward me nothing to this place after the mail which leaves Washington on the 24th instant. Accept my affectionate salutations.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 17, 1802.
Yours of the 9th came to hand yesterday only, so that it has missed a post somewhere. I thought that in my letter of August 20, answering yours of August 17, I had answered every point distinctly; but I find on recurring to it that the recommendations of Messrs. Langdon and Whipple for Hoply Yeaton to be master and Benjamin Gunnison first mate of the revenue cutter in New Hampshire, though intended to have been approved, were omitted. I now approve of them.
Mine of the 8th will have informed you that I had countermanded the sailing of the John Adams on an invitation of the Emperor of Morocco to Simpson to remain. But I have yesterday received a letter from Mr. R. Smith strongly dissuading that countermand and pressing for her departure. I do not answer finally by this post, because Mr. Madison is to be with me to-morrow, and we will consider the subject on yours and Mr. Smith’s letters. I had thought the thing so plain on general grounds that I had asked no advice on it, but I have now written to General Dearborn for his opinion. I confess I see no argument for six frigates which does not go to twelve.
I shall be at Washington on the last day of this, or first of the next month.
Accept my affectionate salutations and respect.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
Monticello, September 20, 1802.
In my last I informed you I should have an opportunity of getting Mr. Madison’s opinion on the expediency of the sailing of the John Adams. I have done so, communicating to him yours and Mr. Smith’s letters on the subject. The latter having informed us that two months’ pay were already advanced to the men, and her stores provided, the consideration of a defective appropriation was already got over, and we were committed in it, and the remaining expenses of the voyage were thought so small as to be overweighed by the advantages which may result from her going; to this opinion I have acceded, though not with entire satisfaction, I confess; perhaps I build too much on the expectation of a state of peace with Morocco and Tunis; perhaps I see too strongly the embarrassment of the defective appropriation. Would it be possible to put the extra advances on the footing of a debt incurred, the arrearages of which might be covered by a future appropriation? Should the John Adams find us at peace with all the Barbary powers except Tripoli, I have referred to Mr. Smith to recall all the frigates, except two, before winter, or to let the question lie till we get together. I expect to set out for Washington this day sennight, and to be there on the last day of the month; but I may be one, two, or three days later. Mr. Madison will not be there so soon.
Accept my affectionate salutations.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
New York, September 21, 1802.
I intend leaving this city this evening, and expect to meet you at Washington the last of this month. As I take my family along, we will travel but slowly.
I should suppose that your intention to countermand the sailing of the Adams came too late; both ships, indeed, were prepared for sea in a much shorter time than would have been expected.
Your letter informing of the favorable aspect in the Mediterranean gave me true satisfaction; it will enable us to diminish our naval expenditures, but to what extent must be left to a future discussion, and will rest on the prospect of our revenue. Of this it is very difficult to form, as yet, a correct idea; it has diminished, and, in my opinion, will experience a greater decrease next year; but our data are not sufficient to draw positive inferences. Before the meeting of Congress we will have a comparative view of imports and exports for the year ending 30th of this month, which will give us, on the whole, the best account we can prepare.
I can ascertain with precision how much the importation has diminished; but although we can have also an account of exports for the same period, the greatest part of them arises from the importations of the preceding year, and the difficulty lies in judging of the quantity of the importations destined for exportation, and which will be exported generally next year. Upon the whole, all I can yet say is that we cannot think for this year of giving up any taxes, and that we must reduce our expenses (naval, military, and foreign) to the estimates we had made, and on which rested the propriety of the repeal of the internal taxes.
Mr. Christie, late member of Congress for Maryland, has just arrived from London, and brought despatches from Mr. King, which he put in the post-office; also the ratification of the convention. Mr. King told him he intended asking to be recalled next year.
I enclose a letter from Mr. Symmes. How shall we ascertain the true conduct of Governor St. Clair? Nothing of the decision in his case has been communicated to the parties. This will not be considered by them as perfectly just.
My health is not yet perfectly good. I hope travelling and the winter will restore it; but I must do as much work in the same time as I did last fall.
Hoping to have soon the pleasure of seeing you, I remain, with sincere respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
Mr. Burr has communicated to me a letter which he wrote to Governor Bloomfield, in which he makes an explicit denial of the charges and assertions of his having either intrigued with the Federal party or in any other way attempted during the late election or balloting to counteract your election. That transaction—I mean the attack on Mr. B. by Cheetham—has deeply injured the Republican cause in this State.
JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.
October 7, 1802.
Th. J. to Mr. Gallatin.
The application of the Bank of Baltimore is of great importance. The consideration is very weighty that it is held by citizens, while the stock of the United States Bank is held in so great a proportion by foreigners. Were the Bank of the United States to swallow up the others and monopolize the whole banking business of the United States, which the demands we furnish them with tend shortly to favor, we might, on a misunderstanding with a foreign power, be immensely embarrassed by any disaffection in that bank. It is certainly for the public good to keep all the banks competitors for our favors by a judicious distribution of them, and thus to engage the individuals who belong to them in the support of the reformed order of things, or at least in an acquiescence under it. I suppose that on the condition of participating in the deposits the banks would be willing to make such communications of their operations and the state of their affairs as might satisfy the Secretary of the Treasury of their stability. It is recommended to Mr. Gallatin to leave such an opening in his answer to this letter, as to leave us free to do hereafter what shall be advisable on a broad view of all the banks in the different parts of the Union.
P.S.—If your information as to the intemperance of Thomson be not completely satisfactory, a Mr. Sibbald, of that State, of whom I made some inquiry, says he can procure good information from a person in town.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
Department of the Treasury, October 26, 1802.
I returned Mr. Dupont’s letter. We do not pay in Europe any part of the interest on our domestic debt, which is that alluded to by him as partly held by French stockholders. The Bank of the United States, for a majority of the foreign stockholders who have made that institution their attorneys, and the special attorneys of the others, remit the quarterly interest to England and Holland, where the stockholders have wished it to be paid. If the French stockholders will make Mr. Dupont’s house their agents, the business may be transacted by him as he wishes; but we have nothing to do with it. His error arises from his having supposed that the remittances for domestic interest to Holland were made by government; it is only the interest and principal of our foreign debt which government remits, and that is exclusively held in Holland.
On the subject of the Comptroller, on which I feel much interested, I have made up my opinion, after a fuller examination of his duties than I had yet bestowed on it, that a certain degree of legal knowledge is the most essential qualification. As it is difficult to find any one man in whom the several requisites are united, it would be preferable to obtain a sound lawyer, or at least a man of perfectly sound judgment and possessed of legal information (who had at least read law), and who had only a general idea of accounts, than a perfect accountant without law knowledge. Not only the general nature of the duties of that office leads me to that conclusion, but it is also impressed with considerable force by the consideration that I am not a lawyer. The law questions which arise in the Treasury (exclusively of those relating to the settlement of accounts) are numerous: during the Comptroller’s absence, nearly one-half of my time is occupied by questions directed to me by collectors and which I would refer to him if he was present, or directed to him and which his clerks refer to me during his absence. If we have a Comptroller who is not a lawyer, it will considerably increase my labor, or rather prevent its being applied in the most proper manner, and the business will not be so well done, as I will be compelled to decide on a much greater number of law questions.
The other two important requisites for a Comptroller are that he should possess method and great industry: without the first the last would be of no avail, and to fill well his duties he cannot be too laborious. Another essential point is that he should write, if not with elegance, at least with precision and great facility, for his correspondence is very extensive, and consists principally of decisions, instructions, and explanations. I cannot write even a decent letter without great labor; and that is another reason why I desire that the Comptroller may be able to write himself; for the duties of the two offices are so blended in what relates to the collection of the impost, that a great part of the correspondence with collectors may fall either on the one or the other, as may be agreed on between them.
But I repeat, that legal knowledge and a sound judgment are the most important qualifications. Who will answer the description I do not know, unless we had a personal knowledge of men: I am afraid of the eastward, both on account of their species of law knowledge, on which I could not, generally speaking, place much greater confidence than on my own judgment, and because their style of writing is not as classical and correct as it ought to be. Mr. Madison has mentioned Judge Duval, of whom I never heard anything but favorable, but whom I do not sufficiently know justly to appreciate his rate. Who was that comptroller of New York whom De Witt Clinton once proposed for naval officer, intending that Bailey should have his office? He spoke highly of him; but I recollect neither his name nor profession. I enclose two recommendations for Mr. Kuhn, also a letter from Worthington which induces a belief that politics are settling the right way in the North-West Territory.
With sincere respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
Impost for last quarter:—Payments in Treasury, about three million four hundred thousand dollars, or 200,000 dollars more than in any preceding quarter. See the enclosed.
GALLATIN TO JEFFERSON.
NOTES ON PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE.
I hope that your Administration will afford but few materials to historians; and we have already a favorable symptom, in the difficulty under which we are to collect materials for a message. The things you want to be done are very few, and seem confined to the following points:
1st. Countervailing duties, if necessary.—To this there can be no objection; but might not the advantage resulting from a mutual abolition of duties between Great Britain and America be placed on more positive ground than the shape in which it stands, “whether this would produce a due equality is a subject,” &c., and does not the conduct of Great Britain on that occasion deserve a freer style of approbation?
2d. Foreign seamen deserting.—I had rather omit this altogether. It does not seem of sufficient importance: the authority, though derived from the general commercial power vested in Congress, may be considered as rather constructive than positive: its exercise will be unpopular as was that given to the French by the treaty, and which was accordingly defeated, whenever practicable, by placing the most rigid literal construction on the article of the treaty. See case of Captain Barré of the Perdrix, Dallas’s Reports.
3d. Naval estimates.—Under which head three objects seem to be recommended:
1st. A conditional authority in the Executive to increase the force.
2d. Purchase or building small vessels. Both of which are unexceptionable.
3d. Authority for our vessels to act offensively in case of war declared or waged by other Barbary powers. I do not and never did believe that it was necessary to obtain a legislative sanction in the last case: whenever war does exist, whether by the declaration of the United States or by the declaration or act of a foreign nation, I think that the Executive has a right, and is in duty bound, to apply the public force which he may have the means legally to employ, in the most effective manner to annoy the enemy. If the instructions given in May or June, 1801, by the Navy Department to the commander of the Mediterranean squadron shall be examined, it will be found that they were drawn in conformity to that doctrine; and that was the result of a long Cabinet discussion on that very ground. It is true that the message of last year adopted a different construction of the Constitution; but how that took place I do not recollect. The instructions given to the commanders to release the crews of captured vessels were merely because we did not know what to do with them; and there was some hesitation whether the instructions should not be to give them up to the Neapolitans. What have been the instructions given in relation to Morocco, in case war had been found to exist?
4th. Dry-dock.—I am in toto against this recommendation: 1st, because so long as the Mediterranean war lasts we will not have any money to spare for the navy; and, 2d, because if dry-docks are necessary, so long as we have six navy-yards, it seems to me that a general recommendation would be sufficient, leaving the Legislature free either to designate the place or to trust the Executive with the selection. It is highly probable that Congress will adopt the last mode if the recommendation is general, and that they will designate another place if this shall be specially recommended. At all events, I would strike out the word “singular” preceding “advantage,” and modify the expressions of the whole paragraph, so as to prevent any possible attack on the ground of partiality to the city. The moment the Potomack is mentioned, political enemies, and the enemies of this place, will unite in representing the plan of a dry-dock as proposed for the purpose of obtaining a navigable canal from that river to the Eastern branch. Quere, by the by, whether the charter of the Potomack Company would permit taking water above the little falls?
5th. Seamen discharged abroad.—Should not the recommendation to legislate be more strongly expressed, and the fact of the expense having been partly defrayed from the contingent fund simply stated? omitting the words “thought to come,” &c., which seem to imply doubt.
6th. Settlement of the Mississippi Territory, instead of being connected only with the Choctaw boundary, depends almost entirely on the Georgia cession and legislative ratification, which, being now binding on Congress, positively enjoins the opening of a land office for the purpose of raising the money due to Georgia; this, perhaps, will preclude the idea of a settlement condition; but, after having read over the articles of agreement with that State, the President will probably be induced to remodel that part of the message. Some notice may be taken of the provision contemplated for satisfying former claims; also for quieting settlers under Spanish titles posterior to the treaty of 1795. We expect on that subject communications from Governor Claiborne, to whom the commissioners have written officially.
7th. Militia Law seems almost a matter of course. What are the defects of the present system? and could any specific improvement be recommended? I think that the important point is to provide that the Middle and Southern States militia should have arms as well as the Eastern. Shall it be done by the public purchasing the arms and selling them, or by rendering it penal, as well to attend without arms, as not to attend on review days?
8th. Missouri seems, as it contemplates an expedition out of our own territory, to be a proper object for a confidential message. I feel warmly interested in this plan, and will suggest the propriety that General Dearborn should write immediately to procure “Vancouver’s Survey,” one copy of which, the only one I believe in America, is advertised by F. Nichols, No. 70 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Price, with all the charts, fifty-five dollars.
The other parts of the message are only statements of facts, on which (except in relation to finances) only two points have struck me: 1st. Louisiana, which might perhaps be reserved for the confidential message; but if left in this, I had rather place the taking possession by the French on hypothetical grounds, saying after the word “war,” “will, if it shall be carried into effect, make a change,” &c.; but this being the most delicate part of the speech will, I presume, be the subject of a Cabinet consultation. 2d. Indians, who, it seems to me, occupy too much space in the message in proportion to the importance of the subject.
The Wabash Salt Springs might be omitted; it is a topic which awakens the objections to the salt tax. On the other hand, it might be well once more to remind Congress that the trading-houses law will expire on the 4th of March.
Is not the admission of the new State in the Union a subject of sufficient importance to be inserted in the message if official information be received?
1st. Ratio of increase greater than any former year.—Probable, but not certain.
2d. Only four and a half million dollars in Treasury on 30th September, 1802.
3d. To pay from the Treasury,—say within one year,—or perhaps add those words after the words “five millions of principal.”
4th. To expenses contemplated in Treasury statement, &c.—The expenses then contemplated were those then authorized by law before the reduction of establishments, and before the repeal of the internal duties; it should be, “contemplated last year by Congress.”
5th. Reduce offices, &c.—I doubt the propriety of repeating this year this admonition. Mint, Commissioner of Loans, and Marines are the only possible objects. Others to as great an amount will probably soon take place.
6th. I have already discontinued, &c.—Whenever the collection was closed, the offices have ceased by law, without any act of the President. It would be better to speak in general terms, saying that some of the offices, &c., have already been discontinued, in others they will, &c., but in a few, &c.
7th. We have had no occasion, &c.—I had rather say, “It has not yet been thought necessary,” &c.
8th. Shall be faithfully applied.—I would like the introduction of the words, “in conformity to the provision of the law of last session,” or any other allusion to that law showing in a striking point of view the Federal misrepresentation of that law.
9th. The statement to be made by the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund is directed to be made annually by law. Two of that board, the Vice-President and Chief Justice, are officers independent of the President. Perhaps the President should not say that such statement will be laid before Congress.
10th. Estimates.—The war estimate, spoken of in another part of the message, makes part of the general estimates for the year, and they are always sent all together, civil, foreign intercourse, military, naval, and miscellaneous. The other part of the message says that the military estimate is now laid before Congress, which is not correct.
Note.—Under that head, “War estimate,” one item has been introduced which requires a specific authority, viz., twenty thousand dollars for holding treaties.
I enclose a rough sketch of the expenses and receipts for the year ending 30th September, 1802. It is not yet correct, for want of some accounts, which will be obtained within eight or ten days, but it is sufficiently so for any general conclusions.
The President’s directions to make free remarks have been very freely followed.
As to style I am a bad judge, but I do not like, in the first paragraph, the idea of limiting the quantum of thankfulness due to the Supreme Being; and there is also, it seems, too much said of the Indians in the enumeration of our blessings in the next sentence.
With sincere respect and attachment, your obedient servant.
MR. GALLATIN TO MR. MADISON.1
I send the letter, which is longer than I expected, and of which I have no copy. I will therefore want it sent again to me when you shall have done with it, in order that I may transcribe it.
The classes of American citizens in whose favor we should assume payment of French debts seem to be,—
1st. Those whose property shall have been taken in Europe or the West Indies, or elsewhere, by or under the authority of the French government, without the consent of the parties.
2dly. Those who shall have made contracts for supplies with the government.
3dly. Those captured at sea, whom the French government may think proper to admit to have been illegally captured. If there is any danger that those captures, which should have been restored by virtue of the convention (not being ultimately condemned), shall not be paid for, they should, of course, be placed in the first rank. Debts due to American citizens who were agents of the French government should be expressly excepted,—Swan, for instance.
Perhaps the French government may insist on our paying Beaumarchais, as they have interested themselves in his favor. Quere, whether that should be agreed on?
If West Florida can alone be purchased, it is certainly worth attending to; but in that case making the river Iberville the boundary, as it was made in the treaty of 1762, between France and England, the article should be so worded as to give us the whole channel of that river, or, at least, to permit us to open it, so as to render it navigable in all seasons. At present the bed is thirty feet above low-water mark for fifteen miles from the Mississippi to Amite River, but I have no doubt that a very small opening would be widened and deepened afterwards by the river. There is no obstruction, the whole being level, and mud or sand. But supposing even a portage there, the advantage of American houses settled in an American port would soon give a preference over New Orleans to that port. The seaport may be perhaps on the main between Pearl and Pascagoula Rivers, but certainly on that island called “Ship Island,” as through the passage between that and the next island there are more than twenty feet water, and good anchorage close to the shore which faces the main. A frigate of thirty-six guns was seen there by E. Jones (the first clerk in my office, who is brother of our late consul at New Orleans, and lived ten years with him in West Florida), and it is the reason of its bearing that name. Judge Bay says that there is another island, called Deer Island, close to the entrance of Lake Pontchartrain, which affords the same advantages. That Jones disbelieves, but the other is certain; and as it is about half-way between Mobile and the lake, as the whole navigation between those two places is locked in by the islands, and safe even for open boats and canoes, that island would become the proper seaport for both rivers, Mississippi and Mobile; for you can bring but nine feet up Mobile Bay, seven feet over the bar of Lake Pontchartrain, and fifteen over the bar at the mouth of the Mississippi. It results from all that, that the possession of West Florida, even without New Orleans Island, is extremely important, and that if it can be obtained, it ought expressly to include all the islands within twenty leagues, or such distance as to include those which are marked on the map.
Please to send me the paper which I gave you yesterday.
[1 ]The replies made by Mr. Gallatin to these queries will be found in the American State Papers, vol. vii. (Finance, vol. i.) pp. 755-757.
[2 ]Chairman of the committee for admitting the North-Western Territory into the Union. This letter is endorsed, in Mr. Gallatin’s hand, “Origin of National Road.”
[1 ]See Mr. Jefferson’s reply in his Correspondence: Writings, vol. iv. p. 439. June 19, 1802.
[1 ]Endorsed by Mr. Madison, “Hints on Mr. Monroe’s negotiation.”