To Henry Dearborn
Monticello Sep. 3. 1802.
I inclose you a letter recieved from Governor Strong on the subject of the military articles furnished us with the fort. considering that our predecessors may have engaged more fully than we suppose, and that in all cases where a state is urgent, the General government ought to exercise towards it the liberality & indulgence of a parent, I should be for yielding whatsoever was not too unreasonable. I am not sufficiently possessed of the particulars to know if there be any thing of that character in this case. but I am entirely disposed to let the state governments know the General one only by it’s kindnesses & fostering cares of them. as this letter concerns the Naval department in a smaller degree I must ask a communication of it to mr Smith. Accept my friendly salutations & respect.
PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Secretary at War.” Recorded in SJL with notation “Govr. Strong.” Enclosure: Caleb Strong to TJ, 23 Aug. 1802 (recorded in SJL as received from Boston on 2 Sep. with notation “W,” but not found).
THE FORT: Fort Independence, on Castle Island in Boston harbor (Justin Winsor, The Memorial History of Boston, Including Suffolk County, Massachusetts, 1630–1880, 4 vols. [Boston, 1880–81], 3:305–6; Vol. 36:43).
Dearborn replied to Strong on 10 Sep., acknowledging receipt of the governor’s letter of 23 Aug. as forwarded by TJ. Dearborn reiterated his opinion that the value placed on the items by Massachusetts was far too high and repeated his earlier proposal to have a disinterested third party examine and appraise the articles in question, recommending either Colonel Ebenezer Stevens or Colonel Henry Burbeck as suitable candidates. Dearborn also enclosed a sketch of prices paid by the United States for arms and ammunition in the past as evidence of the unreasonableness of the price now claimed, “especially when it is considered that the cannon &c at Castle Island were old and many of them, exclusive of those which had been materially damaged, had not been recently inspected and proven” (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 107, MLS; Vol. 35:238n).