Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Stoddert, 17 March 1801

To Benjamin Stoddert

Washington Mar. 17. 1801.


Mr Dawson a member of the late Congress is appointed to be the bearer of the Convention with France, and will be ready to leave this place, within two days, for Baltimore & thence to proceed immediately for Havre, which I think the most eligible port for him to land at. I have therefore to ask the favor of you to give the necessary orders & instructions to the Commander of the Maryland to recieve him. as it is desireable that she should be back as soon as possible, that she may be sold. mr Dawson will be instructed, immediately on his arrival at Paris to prepare his first communications for us as quickly as possible, on the receipt of which the vessel is to return immediately to whatever port you shall direct. he is of course to have good accomodations in the vessel & a participation of such fare as is provided for the officers themselves, his character being merely that of a confidential bearer of the Convention. accept assurances of my consideration & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Secretary of the Navy.”


Commander of the maryland: Captain John Rodgers had commanded the sloop Maryland since June 1799. Writing to Rodgers on 18 Mch., Stoddert instructed the captain to prepare his vessel for Dawson’s imminent arrival and departure for France. The Maryland sailed from Baltimore on 22 Mch. and arrived at Le Havre in early May. Returning to Baltimore in late August, the vessel was sold in October and Rodgers was discharged as part of the naval reduction set forth in the Peace Establishment Act (NDQW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France, Naval Operations, Washington, D.C., 1935–38, 7 vols. (cited by years) description ends , Dec. 1800-Dec. 1801, 148, 292, 368; Charles Oscar Paullin, Commodore John Rodgers: Captain, Commodore, and Senior Officer of the American Navy, 1773–1838 [Cleveland, 1910], 68–70).

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