From Albert Gallatin
Saturday [12 Nov. 1803]
I enclose the sketch of a letter to Mr Triest which requires consideration. If the 5th Article is proper, and I think the principle correct, Mr Claiborne must receive instructions to the same effect from the Dept. of State. The Intendant had the general superintendence of the revenue & the power of directing payment. The first of those powers will be exclusively vested in the collector by that 5th. Art.; and as to the power of paying, I have by the 9th art. directed the collector to advance, on their bills, such money as he may have to officers of the U.S. authorized to draw by either the Dept. of State, or of war. I would wish something more precise & to be informed of the authority given to either Govr. Claiborne or Gen. Wilkinson to draw on the departments.
Respectfully your ob. Sevt.
RC (DLC); partially dated; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 12 Nov. and “collection of customs at N.O.” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: see below.
The sketch of Gallatin’s letter to Hore Browse Trist has not been found, but the points can be followed in the 14 Nov. letter sent to the Natchez collector, which was enclosed in Madison’s of the same date to William C. C. Claiborne (Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1934-75, 28 vols. description ends , 9:106-7; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 6:36-7). The commission granting Trist power to exercise his new duties as collector at New Orleans was sent by the same post (see Gallatin to TJ, 8 Nov.). Gallatin directed Trist to proceed immediately to New Orleans and leave a deputy in charge of the Mississippi District, or he could remain at Fort Adams and appoint a deputy at New Orleans. Gallatin confided in Trist that it was “impossible to prescribe from this department any precise rules of conduct” and that much depended on his “zeal & judgement,” in which Gallatin had complete confidence (Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1934-75, 28 vols. description ends , 9:106).
Gallatin arranged his directive to Trist as ten articles that outlined his powers and responsibilities. 5th article: unlike the collectorship under Spanish rule, Trist would be “perfectly independent” from the intendant or governor, “it being the contention of the President that you should be alone responsible for whatever relates to the collection of the Revenue,” the same as “regularly appointed” collectors at other U.S. ports. The ninth article directed the collector to advance to the governor, as authorized by the State Department, up to $10,000. This article was evidently modified from Gallatin’s draft, because the 14 Nov. letter says nothing about advances under the authority of the War Department (same, 106-7).