Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, with Gallatin’s Reply, [23 February 1802]

To Albert Gallatin, with Gallatin’s Reply

[23 Feb. 1802]

Th:J. to mr Gallatin

the inclosed case is entirely unintelligible to me. can you make any thing of it?

[Reply by Gallatin:]

Nicholas Reib is an old German who has tormented Congress & more particularly the Pennsylvania delegation for several years with his claim. It has been repeatedly rejected. If an answer is thought necessary, it will be sufficient to tell him that the Executive has no power in that case & that his application must be to Congress—

Respectfully your obt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); undated; written on verso of address sheet, with Gallatin’s reply written immediately below TJ’s query; addressed by TJ: “The Secretary of the Treasury” in place of “The President of the United States,” in an unidentified hand; readdressed by Gallatin: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 23 Feb. and “Reib’s case” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Nicholas Reib to TJ, 17 Feb.

The following day, 24 Feb., TJ returned Reib’s papers and explained that he had inquired into his case. “I find that it is not within the powers of the Executive,” he informed Reib, “and that no authority short of that of the legislature can give effect to your claim” (PrC in DLC; at foot of text: “Mr. Nicholas Rieb”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso).

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