Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 13 November 1801

From Robert Smith

Navy Dept. Nov. 13. 1801


As it is probable that the frigate Boston may remain on the Mediterranean Station, and as Capt McNeill would in such case be improperly continued in service contrary to the determination of the Executive, I have conceived that some arrangement ought to be made to prevent such an impropriety. The enclosed letters have been prepared with that view and are submitted to your Consideration.

Be pleased to accept the assurances of my high Esteem—

Rt Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 14 Nov. and so recorded in SJL with notation “McNeill & Barron”; also endorsed by TJ: “Barron to take place of McNiel.” Enclosures: (1) Smith to James Barron, 13 Nov. 1801, informing Barron that “The President having the utmost confidence in your skill & Integrity” has appointed him to succeed Daniel McNeill as captain of the frigate Boston; Barron is therefore to assume command and follow whatever instructions he may receive from Commodore Richard Dale or the commanding officer of the Mediterranean station (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 45, LSO; notation in margin in unidentified hand: “not sent”). (2) Smith to Daniel McNeill, 13 Nov. 1801, informing him that under the terms of the Peace Establishment Act, the president must reduce the number of captains in the navy to nine, and that he cannot retain McNeill in his commission “consistently with the principles of selection which have been adopted”; Smith orders McNeill to deliver command of the Boston to Barron, after which he is to consider himself out of the service and to take passage in the frigate Dale will send home (same; notation in margin in unidentified hand: “not sent”).

Daniel Mcneill remained in command of the Boston until August 1802, and was dismissed from the navy under the terms of the Peace Establishment Act the following October (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 , 2:232–3, 307).

The determination of the executive: see Notes on a Cabinet Meeting, 22 Oct.

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