July 17. 06.
Th:J. to mr. Gallatin
I return you the petitions of the inhabitants of Sag-harbor and of the Keeper of the Light house there. the claims of the parties depend on the Indian right of soil, on the legal effect of the Indian conveyances & contracts, & the degree of patronage or guardianship exercised over them by the government of N. York. the rule of decision being the lex loci, the science & authority of the State tribunals ought to be appealed to. there might be cases indeed where the acts even of a civil officer of the US. might be so outrageous & dissocial as that we might remove him at short hand from infesting the neighborhood. but that is not the character of the present case; and I do not see that the keeper has done any thing which should deprive him of the right of an appeal to the laws of the land. Affectionate salutations.
DNA: RG 26—Light House Service.