From Lyon Lehman
Philadelphia 2d. August 1801
I take the liberty to adress a few lines to you, to inform you my unhappy situation, and my suffrings, and no doubt my worthy President can not help to feel for me. I am a Native of Amsterdam emigrated to France, till we marched to Holland again were I received several wounds when we Batavians entered into Holland, as I had a little property of my own as merchant made severel voyages to America and brought to this country on duties above $9000 I was taken then by the English 350 miles from the land and have put us in a long boat where I was in situation for 18 hours till we were saved at last by a pilot-boat this loss of mine amounted to $14000 even every Steatch of Cloth took those pirates of us, of my unhappy situation I have every bit of paper to Produce. Esqr. Edward Livingston presented a petition in Congress for a remission on duties last cession which amounted to $1684. our Vice President Aaron Bur knows me well as I am now in Such a melancholly situation to ask any small situation which would suport me in any degree as my correctories known in the United States. Not troubling you any longer with this writing therefore will conclude with every sincerly good wishes, health, long live, and Happiness, is the intimate wish of your friend & Humble Servant
N.B. Edward Livingston has seen all my papers likewise Mr Keltetus & knows my Situation
The President will therefore Honour his faithfull Servant by dressing an answer to Lyon Lehman Philadelphia
RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); in an unidentified hand, signed by Lehman; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States of America”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Aug. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off.”
On 5 Feb. 1800, Edward Livingston presented Lehman’s Petition, requesting a remission of duties on firearms imported from Hamburg, to the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures. The committee reported on 10 Feb., but no further action was taken. On 7 Feb., New York Senator James Watson presented the same petition to the Senate. As president of the Senate, TJ endorsed it “Feb. 7 recd. & commd.” In the memorial Lehman explained that he had imported firearms in October 1799 with the intention of selling them to the War Department, but James McHenry refused to purchase them. The government then prevented Lehman from exporting the firearms to the West Indies. In the end he was forced to sell the rifles for less than cost. Because he was prohibited from exporting the arms, Lehman petitioned for a refund of the $1,684 he had paid in duties at New York (MS in DNA: RG 233, 7th Cong., 1st sess., undated, in an unidentified hand, at head of text: “To the Honourable the Senate, and House of Representatives, of the United States of America, in Congress assembled: The Memorial of Lyon Lehman a Citizen of the united States”; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:786, 792; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:27). A committee reported on the petition on 21 Feb. and brought in a bill for the relief of Lehman on 5 Mch. TJ endorsed the bill on that date, but no further action was taken in the Senate. On 19 Jan. 1802, the House of Representatives again considered Lehman’s petition. This time the House and Senate acted on it favorably. TJ signed the “Act for the relief of Lyon Lehman,” authorizing the refund of $1,684 in duties, on 6 Mch. 1802 (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1820–21, 5 vols. description ends , 3:33, 42, 189; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:54, 123; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 6:45; Vol. 31:604).