To Albert Gallatin
Nov. 10. 1801.
A very little experience will probably shew us what description of letters &c. are worth perusal for the sake of information. among yesterday’s communications the bundle of what you called public papers would hardly be worth sending me, because they contain nothing interesting but the balances in the hands of the collectors, which could be obtained by having barely a sight of the weekly sheet you mention in which a statement of these balances is presented in a single view: and this merely that I may have an idea of the existing state of things. As to cases in the ordinary course of business, or depending on principles which are obvious, & on which consequently the head of the department & President can have no doubt, it would be a loss of time to make them the subject of conference with all the heads of departments. I doubt whether those out of the common line & presenting difficulty, are numerous enough to furnish subjects of conference weekly. at present there is a sufficiency of matter and I propose therefore a meeting for the day after tomorrow at 11. oclock.—your idea is precisely the one I meant to express, that when letters require an answer, they should be communicated with the proposed answer, & consequently not till that is ready, unless any difficulty in it presents grounds for previous conference. the reappointments to the revenue cutters may be considered whenever you think it needful. I recieved yesterday from Dr. Tucker a letter accepting his appointment; he will be in place by the last of this month. accept assurances of my sincere & affectionate esteem.
RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “The Secretary of the Treasury.” PrC (DLC).
Reappointments to the Revenue Cutters: on 14 Oct., Gallatin wrote Benjamin Lincoln and the collectors at New York, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, directing them to sell the large revenue cutters under their command and discharge the crews, except for the master and oldest commissioned mate. They were then to acquire new revenue cutters “built upon the best terms you can obtain, and of that particular construction which, in your opinion, is best calculated for the service, but not exceeding 45 tons.” The collectors were also given the option to purchase a vessel if they found one that fit their requirements. The crews for the new revenue cutters were not to exceed the retained master and mate and six “seamen boys” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:857–8). For the plan to replace the large revenue cutters, which were “better calculated for War, than for the protection of the Revenue,” see Gallatin to TJ, 16 June (second letter). TJ probably saw Lincoln’s letter to Gallatin of 30 Oct. (not found), regarding a boat for the custom house at Boston. On 10 Nov., Gallatin wrote Lincoln that he approved of his employing the “Custom House boat in the manner suggested in your letter.” Gallatin added in a postscript: “you are perfectly at liberty either to purchase a cutter or to have one built as you will think most advantageous for the public service” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 6:2).
Thomas Tudor Tucker’s letter accepting his appointment is printed at 5 Nov.