George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Jefferson, 15 August 1793

From Thomas Jefferson

Philadelphia Aug. 15. 1793.


Mr Albion Coxe, engaged in England by mister Pinckney as Assayer of the mint, has not yet completely qualified himself by giving security as required by law; in the mean time he has been of necessity employed at the mint in his proper capacity, and of course is entitled to paiment for his services. the Director of the mint asks instruction on this subject, and I should be of opinion he might pay him for his services at the rate allowed by law, for the time he has been employed by him, and out of the general fund from which he pays his other workmen. this is submitted to your approbation.1

The Director also informs me that much silver is brought to him to be exchanged for coin, but not having the coin ready the silver is carried away again. he is of opinion that if the Treasurer was directed to deliver him 1000. Dollars to be coined into dismes & half-dismes, & to be permitted to lie in the mint till wanted for the Treasury, it would serve him in the mean time as a stock exchange, and enable him to take in the parcels of silver offered as beforementioned. he would by this means throw small silver into circulation & greatly relieve the demand for copper coinage.2 I have the honor to be with great respect & attachment, Sir, your most obedt & most humble servt

Th: Jefferson

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters; AL (letterpress copy), DLC: Jefferson Papers; LB, DNA: RG 59, George Washington’s Correspondence with His Secretaries of State.

1On Thomas Pinckney’s search in England for skilled artisans to work for the U.S. Mint, see Jefferson to GW, 16 Nov. 1792 (second letter), and note 1, and 4 June 1793, and notes. For the employment of Albion Cox as the temporary assayer for the U.S. Mint and his permanent appointment in 1794, see JPP description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed. The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797. Charlottesville, Va., 1981. description ends , 141, 297. According to Section 5 of “An Act establishing a Mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States,” 2 April 1792, the assayer, chief coiner, and treasurer of the Mint “shall each become bound to the United States of America, with one or more sureties to the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treasury, in the sum of ten thousand dollars, with condition for the faithful and diligent performance of the duties of his office.” Section 6 specified a “yearly salary of one thousand five hundred dollars” (1 Stat description begins Richard Peters, ed. The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845 . . .. 8 vols. Boston, 1845-67. description ends ., 247). No written request from David Rittenhouse, the Mint’s director, concerning Cox’s wages or the proposed purchase of silver discussed below has been identified.

2For GW’s decision regarding Cox’s wages and Rittenhouse’s need for one thousand dollars, see Tobias Lear to Jefferson, 21 Aug. 1793.

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