Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Abishai Thomas, 13 October 1801

From Abishai Thomas

Tuesday evening October 13th

Ab Thomas has the honor & the satisfaction to inform the President that Letters are received from Capt. McNeill & the Navy Agent at New York, announcing that the Frigate Boston was got off the ledge of Rocks on which she had struck, at 10 OClock P.M. on the 9th inst.—previous to which all the water had been started and all the Guns, shot, provisions, anchors & heavy stores taken out of her—Capt. McNeill adds, “I do not find she has received any injury in her bottom as she is very tight”—and he hoped to have her again ready for sea by the next evening—

That the Secretary of the Navy may receive the good at the same time with the bad news A.T. has enclosed Cap McNeill’s Letter to go by the same mail with the former

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Oct. from the Navy Department and so recorded in SJL with notation “Boston.”

Abishai Thomas served as a deputy quartermaster general in the Continental army during the Revolution and as an agent of North Carolina for settling its claims against the U.S. during the early 1790s. In the summer of 1799, he was appointed principal clerk of the Navy Department, serving until he was replaced by Charles W. Goldsborough on 1 Apr. 1802 (Palmer, Stoddert’s War description begins Michael A. Palmer, Stoddert’s War: Naval Operations during the Quasi-War with France, 1798–1801, Columbia, S.C., 1987 description ends , 126; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 15:450; 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, Charlottesville, 1983–, 48 vols.: Presidential Series, 1987–, 12 vols. description ends , 6:182; NDBW description begins Dudley W. Knox, ed., Naval Documents Related to the United States Wars with the Barbary Powers, Washington, D.C., 1939–44, 6 vols. and Register of Officer Personnel and Ships’ Data, 1801–1807, Washington, D.C., 1945 description ends , 2:102).

Navy Agent at New York: Daniel Ludlow.

On the morning of 8 Oct., while entering the North (Hudson) River, the Frigate Boston struck a reef some two hundred rods from the Battery. The vessel received no significant damage and departed with Robert R. Livingston for France on 15 Oct. (New York American Citizen and General Advertiser, 9 Oct. 1801; New York Daily Advertiser, 10 Oct. 1801; Dangerfield, Livingston description begins George Dangerfield, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston of New York, 1746–1813, New York, 1960 description ends , 309).

On 12 Oct., Thomas sent TJ a letter covering an abstract of Treasury warrants drawn by the Navy Department and the balance on hand for the week ending 10 Oct. (RC in DLC, at foot of text: “President,” endorsed by TJ as received from the Navy Department on 12 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Warrants”; FC in Lb in DNA: RG 45, LSP).

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