Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, [1 April 1802]

From Robert Smith

[1 Apr. 1802]

Sir,

The enclosed I have received this morning. There are some incorrect statements in it with respect to me as well as yourself. His suggestions, in his opinion, ought to be regarded as Laws.

I have prepared the dispatches for Capt Morris and have herewith sent them for your approbation—

Respectfully
Rt Smith

RC (DLC); undated; endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 1 Apr. 1802 and “Truxton’s resignation” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: probably Smith to Richard Valentine Morris, 1 Apr. 1802, directing him to proceed from Norfolk to the Mediterranean with the frigate Chesapeake, where he is to join with the frigates Adams and Constellation and the schooner Enterprize to relieve the current Mediterranean squadron under the command of Richard Dale; authorizing Morris to draw funds from Mackenzie & Glennie of London or Debutts & Purviance of Leghorn, and to acquire supplies from John Gavino at Gibraltar or from any other Mediterranean port (NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 2:99–100). Other enclosure not found, but see below.

ENCLOSED I HAVE RECEIVED THIS MORNING: the remaining enclosure to Smith’s letter apparently related to the recent, and acrimonious, resignation of Thomas Truxtun from the U.S. Navy. He received command of the Chesapeake as well as overall command of the second Mediterranean squadron in January 1802, but resigned in March after learning that he would not be granted a flag captain as had been given to the commander of the first squadron. In a private letter to Aaron Burr of 22 Mch., Truxtun expressed his belief that his appointment “was by no means congenial to the wishes of the President” and that “it was never intended that I should proceed on the command in question, if it could be decently avoided and at the same time the appearance kept up” (NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 2:19, 26, 76, 83, 94; Vol. 34:140n).

Following Truxtun’s resignation, Richard Valentine MORRIS was ordered to take charge of the Chesapeake and was given command of the second Mediterranean squadron (NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 2:82).

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