Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Levi Lincoln, 14 August 1801

From Levi Lincoln

Worcester August 14th 1801.


Since my last by a letter from Brown the Navy agent in Boston I have his accont of the condemnation, sale & repairs of the Berceau, excepting the cost which, at present, he is not able to furnish but which he will forward as soon as it is in his power—The words of the instruction are different from what I supposed they were. I supposed them to have been expressed, as Brown considered the meaning to have been—For that I understood to have been the design of Government. The inclosed extract from his letter shew the transaction, respecting the Berceau in the town of Boston—

It is perceived by the papers that your answer to the N.H. remonstrance produced great excitements for the moment. The remarks on it were pitiful, the expressions of deep mortification & disappointment. They are dying away—and its beneficial effects discovering themselves, in more caution & prudence on the part of the federalist. On my return from Boston where I expect to be in a day or two, I shall trouble you with further communications—Accept Sir assurances of my highest esteem & respect

Levi Lincoln

RC (DLC); at head of text: “President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Aug. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Extract from Samuel Brown to Lincoln, [4 Aug. 1801], two paragraphs, one giving a sequence of events from the capture of the Berceau on 12 Oct. 1800 to its sale at Boston on 15 Jan. 1801, and the second paragraph explaining the instructions that Brown received from the Navy Department, which called for the vessel to be repaired to “the state she was in at the time of her capture”; Brown declaring that he “presumed it was the meaning of the instructions, ‘tho not fully expressed, that the Corvette should be restored, in all respects, to the condition she was in, immediately anterior to the Commencement of the action with the Boston”; he noting also that strict adherence to that rule “was soon found impracticable,” since the new rigging, sails, masts, spars, and other items installed during the restoration of the ship were worth more than the fittings on the ship before the battle with the Boston (Tr in DLC: TJ Papers, 117:20146–7, in a clerk’s hand, except at head of text in Lincoln’s hand: “Extract from Brown’s letter,” undated, but date mentioned in Brown to Lincoln, 16 Oct. 1801, in DLC; printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 2:436).

My Last: Lincoln to TJ, 28 July.

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