Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 26 June 1801

From Albert Gallatin

Treasury Department 26th June 1801


I have the honor to enclose the opinion of the District Attorney of Pennsylvania, to whom in the absence of the Atty. General I had made application, in relation to the power of the Secy. of the Treasury to revise former unfavorable decisions of the Department on the subject of fines penalties & forfeitures.

As this business originated upon an application in the case of W. Priestmann, and it is understood that a pardon was suspended on the presumption that the Secy. of the Treasury might act, I beg leave to inform you that, in conformity with the enclosed opinion I decline taking any step in it, a decision having been made by Mr Wolcott in that case several years ago.

I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your most obt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); with note by TJ at foot of text: “June 26. 1801. directed a pardon to issue. Th:J”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 June and “Priestman’s case” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

District Attorney of Pennsylvania: Alexander J. Dallas.

In the pardon of William Priestman, issued on 27 June, TJ argued that “it hath been made to appear to me that the said forfeiture hath accrued thro’ mistake and not from fraud or design, and being therefore not within the intentions tho’ embraced by the letter of the law, is one of those cases for the relief of which the power of pardon has been confided to the Executive” (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 59, GPR). See also Gallatin to TJ, 12 June.

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