Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Latham Mitchill, 14 February 1806

Washington Feb. 14. 06.


Your letter of the 4th. inst. has been recieved, & in it a Memorial of the Merchants & Marine insurers of the city of New-York, complaining of an opinion said to have been given by the Minister Plenipotentiary of the US. at Paris, to the Minister of Finance of that government. this opinion was that Underwriters, being secured against loss by the premiums they are supposed to have recieved, are not entitled to participate in the indemnifications stipulated by the Convention with France for those whose property had been unjustly siesed on the ocean: and the Memorial desires that decided measures may be taken to correct the effects of this opinion.

In consequence of being informed that such an opinion had been given, a letter disapproving it was written by the Secretary of State to the Minister, and we have reason to expect from him explanations on the subject. whether this was the sole point on which the case of the New Jersey turned? what was the precise opinion expressed by him, & what were the circumstances & views of the subject leading to that opinion are questions on which his good sense and known integrity forbid an unfavorable decision until his explanations shall be recieved. in the mean time having no doubt of the right of Insurers to stand in the place of the Insured, that right will be asserted & maintained on every proper occasion. Accept my assurances of great esteem & consideration.

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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