Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Patterson, 3 April 1807

Mint of U. States April 3. 1807.


With your approbation, I have employed Mr. John Reich as an Assistant Engraver in the Mint, at the annual salary of 600 dolls. He has covenanted “to execute any work, in the line of his profession, that may be required of him, either by the director or chief engraver, whether for the immediate use of the mint, or for that of the U. States, when ordered by any special resolution or act of Congress, for that purpose, or by the President: provided, that in the execution of any such work, no extraordinary hours of labour or attendance be required, without an adequate compensation therefor”. So that if any seals should be wanted for the public offices, or dies for the striking of Indian or other medals, they can now be executed in the best stile, at the mint, without any extra expence to government.

Mr. Reich is now preparing a set of new dies, in which some improvements in the devices will be introduced (adhering, however, strictly to the letter of the law) which it is hoped will meet with public approbation.

With respect, Sir, to small coins, the practice of the mint has been, and still continues to be, in strict conformity with your wishes and instructions—No Eagles nor dollars have been struck during the last two years. Quarter dollars, dimes, and half-dimes are struck whenever desired by the depositors, or not particularly objected to.

But, in truth nearly the whole of our silver bullion (chiefly Spanish dollars) come through the Banks; and it is very seldom that they will consent to take any coin less than half-dollars. Small Spanish silver coins are extremely plenty, I believe in most of commercial towns; and as its nominal, and circulating value is far above its real, intrinsic value, it will neither be sent to the mint, used in manufactures, nor carried out of the country; but, indeed, is daily increasing by importation. Small Coins of the UStates will, therefore, be less necessary for the sake of change, while foreign small silver continues to be a circulating medium

We lately struck, at the mint, nearly a quarter of a million of silver dimes: it is, however, with the utmost difficulty that we can prevail on any of the Banks to accept of them; and, in fact, nearly half the number still remains in our vaults!

I have the honour to be Sir, with sentiments of the most profound respect & esteem your Obedt. Servant

R Patterson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

Index Entries