Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 9 November 1801

From Albert Gallatin

Nover. 9th 1801

Dear Sir

Enclosed you will find the letters received by last mail. (one excepted from Survr. gen. on which I have not yet formed an opinion) I would suggest the propriety of my not sending those which require certain previous enquiries, such as those of Th. Worthington, E. Boudinot, J. Ingersol, until after the enquiries have been made and an opinion formed, when the whole subject may be laid before you. I also enclose two drafts of letters, one on Mr Pichon’s application & the other in relation to an apparently delinquent collector.

I send along with this a bundle of what we call “public letters” also received by this mail. The greater part of these are endorsed so as to be distinguishable & are opened by the principal clerk. They consist principally of the weekly Statement &c. of collectors, never require any answer except when at the end of a quarter the result does not agree with the quarterly accounts, or they exhibit too much money in hands of a collector. I never look at them. but they are entered in a book, which has been prepared under my direction, by one of the clerks so as to exhibit weekly a general view of all the transactions. From that book a weekly sheet is made out exhibiting the balance in hands of collectors &c. subject to drafts of the Treasury and that general view enables to draw upon them, to call on them, when necessary, for more regular returns, & sometimes to institute enquiries as in Mr Gerry’s case. I do not suppose you want to see those letters, but have sent them as a sample & will confine myself hereafter to letters on which it is necessary for me to act, unless you shall otherwise direct.

The whole of my correspondence is generally very insipid, consisting of petty details &c.; and, I have as much as possible, abridged it. It will, by no means, convey just ideas of the real business of this Department; this, as well as the object you have generally in view, & which is of primary importance, can, in my opinion, be obtained only1 by regular meetings. It seems to me that a general conference once a week, to which might be added private conferences of the President with each of the Secretaries respectively once or twice a week, is a necessary measure; but those conferences should be fixed on certain days & hours, otherwise, they will be only occasional, &, as we have already experienced, often omitted.   Feeling, as I do, the necessity of concert, I make no apology for the suggestion.

I have the honor to be With sincere respect & attachment Your most obed. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 9 Nov. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Elias Boudinot to Gallatin, U.S. Mint, 5 Nov. 1801, noting that he has with great difficulty obtained fifty tons of copper from England on credit for four months at a cost of about $16,000; being entitled to draw $10,000 from the Treasury, he requests a warrant for that amount; also proposing that “If you can lend the Mint Four thousand more, I am confident I can repay it in Cents within eight or nine weeks,” and concluding “By this means I shall save as much interest to the U. States, preserve our credit, and take advantage of the present state of exchange, which will probably rise during the winter” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:924, 967). (2) Probably the Dft of Gallatin to Benjamin Lincoln, 10 Nov. (see below). Other enclosures not found.

One Excepted: Rufus Putnam to Gallatin, Marietta, Ohio, 15 Oct., posing questions about the land surveys as prescribed under the land act of 10 May 1800. Gallatin endorsed the letter and wrote the following opinion: “Note. His arguments are by no means conclusive. But the subject, on account of incorrect original surveys, is difficult. It is best to write him, to suspend the subdivn. of the townships partly sold before the Act of 10th May 1800 for the reasons stated in letter of 24th Sept. & lay the subject before Congress—A.G.” Gallatin also noted that the letter was answered on 12 Nov. (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:866–9). At that time TJ probably saw both Putnam’s letter and Gallatin’s response. The Treasury secretary’s reply directed the surveyor general “to suspend the Subdivision of the Townships partly sold” before the Act of 1800 “in order that the subject may be submitted to Congress, at the approaching Sessions” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 6:15; Malcolm J. Rohrbough, The Land Office Business: The Settlement and Administration of American Public Lands, 1789–1837 [New York, 1968], 34).

Louis André Pichon’s Application probably concerned the French chargé’s request for a refund of the duties he was required to pay on shoes and silk stockings that arrived on the Maryland. On 7 Nov., Gallatin informed Robert Purviance, the collector of Baltimore, of the president’s decision that Pichon should receive the same exemption afforded a foreign minister residing in the United States. Gallatin requested that Purviance repay William Barney, Pichon’s agent, $8.80, “being the amount of the duties received by you on the articles” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:974).

Apparently Delinquent Collector: probably the draft of a letter Gallatin addressed to Benjamin Lincoln on 10 Nov., requesting that the Boston collector appoint a qualified person, preferably the deputy collector or “an intelligent clerk” in his office, to proceed immediately to Marblehead, Massachusetts, and make an inquiry into Samuel R. Gerry’s official transactions. Gallatin directed the investigator to determine the “amount of specie, bonds and other public papers” that were in the hands of the Marblehead collector; to ascertain the cause “of the variation between the weekly Returns & quarterly accounts Current and the reason of their long continuance”; and to discover “the causes of the delays in rendering the accounts, and if practicable, what was the true balance of cash on hand at the end of the three first quarters of the present year respectively.” Gallatin also requested that Lincoln provide information, which would be kept confidential, “respecting the general character, qualifications, and age” of Gerry (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 6:3). On 24 Oct. and 7 Nov., Gallatin wrote John Steele seeking his advice regarding the delinquency and discrepancies in Gerry’s accounts (same, 5:894–5, 975).

On 7 Nov., Gallatin sent TJ the weekly list of warrants on the Treasury for the week ending 7 Nov., recording 14 warrants, Nos. 114 to 127, including No. 126, for $2,000, the periodic payment of TJ’s salary as president. One of four warrants under miscellaneous, No. 121, for $800, was issued to Thomas Claxton for furniture at the “President’s house.” One warrant appeared under the military establishment, for $50,000 for the army, and two warrants under the Dutch debt for a total of $14,000, for the purchase of bills on Holland at 40 cents per guilder. The warrants for the week totaled $75,101.16 (MS in DLC; in Gallatin’s hand; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 7 Nov. and “Warrants” and so recorded in SJL).

1Word interlined.

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