To Robert Smith
Washington Sep. 30. 03.
Having understood that you have been unwell, & that your family is still so, I have not asked your attendance here, lest these circumstances should stand in the way. Mr. Madison, Dearborne & Gallatin are here & mr Lincoln expected tomorrow. we have not only to decide on the matters to be communicated to Congress, but as early a decision of the administration as possible is requisite on one of the Louisiana questions, which requires immediate & important orders. should your own health or that of your family not render it inconvenient we should be very happy to see you on Monday & to recieve your aid at a meeting which I propose for Tuesday next. but this is not meant to be pressed against considerations of health or of family distress. Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of esteem & respect.
PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Secretary of the Navy”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso. Recorded in SJL as a letter to the Navy Department with notation “possn of N. Orleans.”