Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 26 October 1801

From Robert Smith

Navy Dept. Oct. 26. 1801


The Enclosed has some relation to the Case of the Officer of the Marine Corps some days since submitted to your Consideration. His proposed bargain is an additional evidence of his meanness.

With great respect Your Mo. Obed Servt

Rt Smith

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Oct. and “Lt. Church” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Jonathan Church to William W. Burrows, Marine Camp, 24 Oct. 1801, in which Church understands that he has been “Unfavourably” represented to the secretary of the navy at the court-martial convened in the case of Captain George Little; Church requests an opportunity to defend himself, or, if Burrows thinks advisable, he will resign “on Receiving four months Advance pay.” (2) Burrows to Church, 24 Oct. 1801, in which Burrows informs Church that “It is not in my Power to give away the pub-lick money, but am willing to receive your Resignation” (both RCs in same).

Jonathan Church was a lieutenant of marines on the frigate Boston when it captured the French vessel the Berceau in late 1800 (NDQW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C., 1935–38, 7 vols. (cited by years) description ends , Dec. 1800-Dec. 1801, 359). For background on the mistreatment of the Berceau’s crew and subsequent court-martial of the Boston’s commander, George Little, see Samuel Smith to TJ, 18 July 1801.

Writing later on the same day as the above letter, Smith informed TJ that “To relieve you from any further consideration of the Case of Lieut. Church I hasten to inform you, that I have this instant received his Resignation” (RC in DLC, at foot of text: “The President,” endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 26 Oct. and “Lt. Church” and so recorded in SJL; FC in Lb in DNA: RG 45, LSP).

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