Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Elias Boudinot, 23 May 1801

To Elias Boudinot

Washington May 23. 1801.

Dear Sir

You know the dispositions of the legislature to discontinue the establishment of the Mint on account of it’s expence, and that there is a possibility, not to say more that the design will be resumed. mr Leslie, the bearer of this, has explained to me a mode of performing the operation of coining which would prodigiously abridge it’s expences, if it answers; the proposition looks well, it rests on the known force of the double cylinder, and the experiment may be tried at an expence of 5. or 10. guineas in his opinion. under these impressions I cannot but recommend to you the trial of his method, by having a pair of rollers & die prepared by your workmen, for a single dollar only, because if it will make one, there will be no doubt of it’s sufficiency. I shall be happy to learn the result, & think the sooner it is tried the better; because if it succeeds, there will be time to get into full operation before the meeting of Congress.

I recieved from a German of the name of Reich some specimens of engraving & a wish to be employed. he is just arrived & in distress. I send them to you by mr Leslie, that you may judge for yourself whether he may be employed usefully for the public. I have taken the liberty of desiring him to present himself to you. accept assurances of my high consideration & respect.

RC (PHi); addressed: “Elias Boudinot esq. Director of the mint Philadelphia”; also on address sheet in TJ’s hand: “by mr Leslie with a small box”; endorsed as received 29 May. PrC (DLC).

Rumors circulated about a plan to discontinue the establishment of the mint and move it from Philadelphia; see U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:86, 111; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 10:1290; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:815.

Robert Leslie’s letter to TJ of 1 Apr. mentioned Matthew Boulton’s process of coining.

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