Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Smith, 16 May 1804

From Robert Smith

May. 16. 1804.


I take the liberty of sending to you the enclosed for Consideration—If you should be of the Opinion, as I am, that Capt Morris ought to be dismissed without the intervention of a Court Martial, you will be pleased to Correct the enclosed letter so as to please yourself—

Respectfully Y H S

Rt Smith

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 16 May and “Capt Morris’s case” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but see below.

Writing to Richard V. morris on 16 May, Smith informed him that the opinion of the recent court of inquiry had “satisfied the President” that continuing Morris in command in the navy was no longer in the public interest. Therefore, Smith continued, “I have it in charge from him to inform you, that he has revoked your Commission” (DNA: RG 45, LSO).

Two days earlier, on 14 May, TJ approved the sentence of a court-martial in the case of Augustine Serry, a boatswain on the frigate Essex found guilty on 11 May of insolence and disobedience of orders. The court revoked his warrant and barred him from ever holding an office of profit or trust in the navy (proceedings in DNA: RG 125, GCMCI).

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