Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Henry Voigt, 11 February 1802

From Henry Voigt

Philada. Febr. 11th 1802


I found the watch exactly as you described it in the few lines laid in the watch. There is one thing however which I suppose has been done since you delivered the watch to the Gentleman; because if it had been done before, you would certainly have mentioned it;—The Stoper which silences the striking part was broke, and the Enamel of the Dial Plate chipt off in two places. This I thought proper to mention, that you may not blame me for that Accident. I have repaired the defects, and have no doubt but you will find her go well.

I have according to order sent you the four Medallions from Mr Reich. The price he puts on them is four Dol. each. I have likewise forwarded a quantity to Mr Duane for Sale, both of Silver and white metal, so that if any more be wanting, Mr. Duane will furnish them.

As there is a rumour of the Mint being abolished, in that case, I shall be obliged to go more extensively into the watch business, to procure a living for a large Family—Your Custom, & what you can recommend, will be esteemed a favour by Sir

Your most Obed Humle Sevt

Henry Voigt

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “To His Excellency T. Jefferson Pres. US.”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Feb. and so recorded in SJL.

According to order: see TJ to Voigt, 16 Jan. 1802. On 18 Feb. 1802 in the Philadelphia Aurora, William Duane advertised the sale of the medals by John Reich at the Aurora bookstore. Featuring “a striking likeness of Thomas Jefferson,” the medals commemorated “American Independence, and the auspicious day, which raised Mr. Jefferson, to the dignity of President over a free people.” Duane offered the medals in silver and in white metal, at the price of $4.25 and $1.25 each, respectively.

Rumour of the mint being abolished: on 3 Mch. 1801, Congress had authorized a continuation of the Mint at Philadelphia for two years, but calls for its abolishment continued from those critical of the high cost of its operation. On 29 Jan. 1802, Congressman William Branch Giles submitted a resolution calling for its discontinuation, arguing that “this establishment cost more than the benefits derived from it.” The resolution generated considerable debate in the House, culminating in a bill passed on 26 Apr. that called for the Mint’s abolishment. The bill failed, however, to receive the consent of the Senate. On 3 Mch. 1803, Congress allowed the Mint to continue at Philadelphia for another five years (Frank H. Stewart, History of the First United States Mint, Its People and Its Operations [Camden, N.J., 1924], 62–9; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. description ends , 11:291–2, 471–2, 473, 484–92, 1128, 1237–42, 1246–7; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:111, 242).

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