Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Smith, 17 August 1802

To Robert Smith

Monticello Aug. 17. 1802.

Dear Sir

I inclose you a letter from a mr Isaac Mansfield as attorney for the representative of James Mugford, who was killed in an action on board a vessel which he commanded whereby, under the then existing regulations, his widow became entitled to a bounty. I inclose it to you because, if entitled by the existing laws, the [inquiries] first come to your office for it’s sanction before it could be presented at the treasury. if there be no laws auth[oriz]ing the claim I presume the application should be through the member of his district to Congress. I will ask the favor of you to give to mr Mansfield the answer which on examination of the case you shall deem proper. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); faint; at foot of text: “The Secretary of the Navy.” Recorded in SJL with notation “Mansfield & Mugford’s case.” Enclosure: Isaac Mansfield to TJ, 2 Aug. 1802 (recorded in SJL as received from Marblehead on 16 Aug. with notation “N” but not found).

ISAAC MANSFIELD, a Harvard graduate and former minister, was a lawyer from Marblehead (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 55 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 15 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 20 vols. description ends ., 11:130–1).

On 17 May 1776, JAMES MUGFORD of Marblehead, commander of the armed schooner Franklin, captured a British transport near Boston that contained a valuable cargo of military stores. Two days later, he was killed repelling a British attack on his vessel. In January 1797, Mugford’s widow, Sarah, and her current husband, Arnold Martin, unsuccessfully petitioned Congress for the prize money and BOUNTY due Mugford for his naval service, basing their claim on a resolution of the Continental Congress of 28 Nov. 1775 that granted the widow or children of navy commanders killed in action a bounty of $400 (Washington, Papers, Rev. War Ser description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 55 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 15 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 20 vols. description ends ., 4:329–30, 347–8; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 2:645, 659; Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, 34 vols. [Washington, D.C., 1904–37], 3:386).

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