Thomas Jefferson Papers

Andrew Ellicott to Albert Gallatin, 27 December 1802

Andrew Ellicott to Albert Gallatin


Lancaster December 27th. 1802

Dear Sir

I wish you to give me credit for the map, and observations that accompanied it, which I furnished last year.—In the construction, and delineation of the map, and drawing up the observations, I was constantly engaged more than forty days.—

The map has cost me about forty dollars, which arose from the following circumstance.—When I began the work, I had to purchase a pentagraph, to reduce my original charts, to a smaller, and, to the same scale.—This instrument cost me thirty three dollars; and is now of no use whatever to me, and was never used but on the work above mentioned.—This, or a similar instrument, was much wanted in the Office at Washington when I was there, and if one has not been procured since that time, this may be had for what I gave for it. For the writing on the map, I paid Samuel Lewis six dollars,—the paper, and other expenses, I suppose amounted to at least one dollar, exclusive of my own time, which I have already stated at upwards of forty days.—

If I stand charged on the books of the U.S. with a Telescope, it is erronious:—the U.S. were paid for it by me in the year 1796.

With this, you will receive a statement of some small sums of money expended by me, for certain purposes interesting to the U.S. and which have not been repaid, or covered by any charge, or introduced into any other account.—As those sums were paid under the administration of Mr. Adams, I intended speaking to him upon the subject, but was never able to obtain an interview with him after my return from our southern boundary.—This statement you will easily percieve is strictly confidential, and not intended to go beyond the President, and heads of departments—

I now have a work of considerable magnitude with the printer relative to our southern country, and which would be published in a few weeks; but for want of the engravings of the maps, charts, and figures.—

I am sir with great esteem your friend and Hble. Servt.—

Andw; Ellicott

RC (DNA: RG 217, MTA); at foot of text: “Honble. Albert Galiten Secretary of the Treasury of the U.S.” Enclosure not found, but see below.

For the map of the Mississippi and observations that accompanied it, see Ellicott to TJ, 10 Oct. and 2 Nov. 1801. Gallatin authorized $127 as compensation for Ellicott’s “labour & expense in preparing the map & observations” and $33 for the pentagraph. “The work was done at the request of the Secretary,” Gallatin noted, and it “has been & continues to be of great utility.” The credit of $160 was approved by the comptroller’s office on 15 Jan. 1803 (MSS in DNA: RG 217, MTA). James Monroe requested that Ellicott’s map and remarks be included in the State Department packet for his mission to France (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 4:388).

On 7 Aug., Ellicott provided Gallatin with a statement and affidavit verifying his payment for the telescope (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 , 8:585).

statement of some small sums: that is, the expenses Gallatin questioned in his cover letter to TJ, above, noting that such expenditures required the approval of the president. On 12 Jan., Ellicott informed Madison that while working on the southern boundary he used his own money to procure private information, which he could not “conscientiously cover by a fictitious charge,” even if it meant he would “lose the whole” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 4:251–2). On 4 June, TJ issued a certificate declaring that representations by the secretary of state indicated that Ellicott had dispersed $350 “for objects in relation to the duties of the said Department and to promote the interest of the United States, the specification of which disbursement at this time” was “deemed inexpedient.” The certificate served as Ellicott’s voucher for $350 to be paid out of the funds for foreign intercourse (MS in DNA: RG 217, MTA, signed by TJ and countersigned by Madison; FC in Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL). On 13 June, the auditor’s office credited Ellicott’s account, noting it covered sums “disbursed by him in the years 1797, 1798 and 1799 for objects in relation to the duties of the Department of State and to promote the Interest of the United States” (MS in DNA: RG 217, MTA).

work of considerable magnitude: The Journal of Andrew Ellicott, Late Commissioner on Behalf of the United States during Part of the Year 1796, the Years 1797, 1798, 1799, and Part of the Year 1800, published later in 1803 (see Vol. 35:106–7).

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