Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 21 April 1806

Navy Department 21 april 1806


Having obtained a sight of the bill now before the Senate entitled “an act in addition to an act entitled “an act supplementary to the Act providing for a naval Peace Establishment; & for other purposes”, I lose no time in informing you that under the restrictions of such an act of Congress The Chesapeake, as contemplated by you, cannot be sent to the Mediterranean—The proposed Act, among other regulations, contains this proviso, vizt “that the whole number of able seamen, ordinary seamen & boys, shall not exceed 925”. as we have, at this time, in actual service, Twelve hundred & ninety nine able seamen, ordinary seamen & boys, if this Bill should be passed into a Law, we cannot, consistently with it’s restrictions put in commission another frigate—Instead of increasing the number of men in service, we shall be under the necessity of reducing the number to 925.

If Congress will, agreeably to the recommendation contained in your message of the 14th. April 1806, revive the Mediterranean Fund and appropriate apart thereof to the purposes of the Navy, & will moreover augment the number of seamen that may be employed to Fifteen hundred & ninety one, then the frigate The Chesapeake may be put in commission & sent to the Mediterranean under the authority of Law—We otherwise shall not be able to send out this frigate until the return of the vessels ordered home by my letter of the 12th Octr. 1805.

I have the honor to be with great respect sir, yr mo ob sr.

Rt Smith

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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