Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 20 February 1804

To Albert Gallatin

Washington Feb. 20. 04.

Dear Sir

Expecting that mr Madison & yourself would be able with a little discussion to make up an opinion on Dr. Stevens’s case, I had not given it any serious consideration. I have now however done so and I send you the result, asking the favor of you to make any observations to which you may think it open in matters of fact, inference, or omission. on receipt of these I will give it a final consideration in order to bring the subject to a close. accept affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Secretary of the Treasury.” Recorded in SJL with notation “Dr. Stevens’s case.”

dr. stevens’s case: on 24 Dec. 1803, Richard Harrison, at the auditor’s office, notified Madison that he concurred with the opinion that although Edward Stevens went to Saint-Domingue with a commission as U.S. consul general, “his powers were in fact those of a Minister and that his Expenses while on the mission were to be reimbursed by the United States.” Stevens had submitted an expense statement totaling $27,325, including $20,350 for travel and household maintenance, but he had supplied no vouchers. Thus, the auditor noted, they could not be “admitted consistently with the Rules which generally govern in settlements at the Treasury.” Harrison suggested that Stevens’s original agreement be modified to allow an annual sum “judged reasonable, & sufficient” to cover his expenses. Comptroller Gabriel Duvall concurred. On 27 Dec., Harrison again wrote Madison: “I am still decidedly of Opinion that whatever allowance he is to have, whether in the shape of compensation, or as a Reimbursement of Expenses must be fixed by some superior Authority before it can be admitted by the Accounting Officers of the Treasury” (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962- , 37 vols.: Sec. of State Ser., 1986- , 10 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984- , 8 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009- , 2 vols. description ends , Sec. of State Ser., 6:209-10, 236). Stevens submitted his accounts in April 1802 when John Steele was comptroller. Steele also raised questions about the expenditures (see same, 3:96-7, 134, 150-1; 8:563).

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