Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Smith, 11 September 1801

To Robert Smith

Monticello Sep. 11. 1801.

Dear Sir

I have just recieved from Govr. Drayton a letter [on] the subject of the French prisoners there, with copies of those which had passed between him and the French agent, which I inclose you. in his letter to me is this passage. ‘I should be glad to know in what manner the expences of the said prisoners are to be defrayed: whether by the US. or the French republic. for as they were brought in here in a prize to one of the US. vessels of war it is a national business altogether, & one in which this state has only taken a part to forward the more extensive operations of the union.’ I have said to him that you will be so good as to write [to] him on this subject.

I also inclose you a letter from Judge Tucker of this state on the subject of Doctr. Barraud. being unacquainted with the circumstances I can only add that Barraud is a man very much respected. I recieved some time ago a letter in his favor from Bishop Madison, which is at Washington where I can communicate it to you for [consi]deration.

I have duly recieved your favor of the 4th. I know not what may be the policy of France in declining the ratification of the treaty, but the more I reflect on it, the more I consider it’s ratification as very uninteresting. [the] restoration of prizes might be provided for by [a sin]gle sentence. we [shall] then […] all the relations of peace & commerce, without the embarrasment [of a] treaty, on which footing I wish we stood with every nation. the public letters by the Maryland had not come to mr Madison’s hands on the 7th. when he left us. I have no letter from him by this post, so that I do not know whether it has brought him those dispatches. in the mean time mr Livingston is notified to be in readiness, as the Boston should also be. Accept my sincere esteem & high respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faint; at foot of text: “The Secretary of the Navy.” Enclosures: (1) John Drayton to TJ, 20 Aug. (2) St. George Tucker to TJ, 5 Sep.

The letter from Bishop James Madison about Philip Barraud was probably one of 19 Apr. 1801 that has not been found; see note to TJ to Bishop Madison, 9 May.

Not until 18 Sep. did the Navy Department have word that the Boston had reached New York. Abishai Thomas immediately sent instructions to complete preparations for the transatlantic voyage, anticipating that the order for the frigate to sail would come “in a very few days.” The departure had to await preparation of Livingston’s final instructions, and then on 1 Oct. Smith ordered Daniel McNeill, the ship’s commander, to sail as soon as he had the minister’s party on board (Thomas to Daniel Ludlow, 17, 18 Sep. 1801, in Lb in DNA: RG 45, MLS; Smith to McNeill, 22 Sep., in Lb in same, LSO; NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 1:587–8).

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