Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 4 February 1807

Treasury Department February 4th 1807


It is provided by the 61st section of the act to regulate the collection of duties on imports & tonnage, (4th Vol. page 379) that foreign coins & currencies, not therein specially enumerated, shall be estimated as nearly as may be according to the intrinsic value thereof compared with money of the United States; Provided that the President of the United States may establish regulations for estimating the duties on goods, in respect to which the original cost shall be exhibited in a depreciated currency, issued and circulated under authority of any foreign government.

Under the general provision, the Trieste or Austrian Florin has heretofore been estimated at its supposed intrinsic value vizt. 40 cents. But it appears by a number of letters, original invoices & prices current herewith transmitted, that the florin is a money of account, and that all payments are made in a paper currency of that denomination issued by the Bank of Vienna under the authority of Government; which currency is a legal tender & has depreciated about 25 p%. It is indeed evident by the papers alluded to that the florin, paper money, is not worth more than 28 or 29 cents, as will appear by the value of Spanish dollars in florins & by the rate of exchange with England.

The case is respectfully submitted to your consideration, in order that, if you shall approve, a regulation may under your authority be prepared, directing the Collectors, in estimating the duties on goods imported from Trieste, to calculate the Florin at thirty cents for the present, and hereafter according to what may appear to be its depreciation at the time.

I have the honor to be with great respect Sir Your obedient Servant

Albert Gallatin

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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