Thomas Jefferson Papers

VI. From Albert Gallatin, [ca. 14–15 November 1801]

VI. From Albert Gallatin

[ca. 14–15 Nov. 1801]

Dear Sir

Mr Nourse acts, & has for ten years acted, as agent for the disbursements of this department for contingent expences amounting during that period to about 100,000 dollars. On settlement of his accounts there is a deficiency of 202 dollars, arising either from some expence not entered, or for which he had neglected to take a voucher, or from some voucher lost. He thinks it hard, as this was a kind of extra-duty that he should lose the money; and it is proposed that it should be allowed to him in a separate account, as a grant for his trouble in the business (not as compensation for monies lost or for a supposed expense for which he cannot account, as the precedent is considered as dangerous) to be paid out of the fund for unprovided claims. If I shall authorize the allowance the accounting officers will pass the account. It is not perfectly regular; yet I feel inclined to do it. Will you favour me with your opinion?

No letters received by last mail.

I have found so much difficulty in arranging or rather procuring correct statements amongst the Treasury documents, that I cannot yet give any probable1 estimate of the revenue within half a million—of course cannot give any opinion of the propriety of2 abolishing the internal revenues; but I am clearly of opinion they should all go or all remain. It would not be worth while to preserve the excise alone at such monstrous expence & inconvenience as the collection now costs. The two documents of “receipts & expenditures” for 1800 & of “estimates for 1802” cannot accompany your message, as they are directed by positive resolutions of the house to be laid yearly before them by the Secretary. But as they must be supposed to have been communicated by him to you, they may with propriety be referred to in the message. They are matters of form, prepared by the Register, & to which for the present year I have concluded to make no alteration in point of form.

If possible, I will on Tuesday lay before you general results sufficient to give you all the information you may want in relation to the general views you intend exhibiting in the message. But, in the mean while, could you calculate what will be the annual sum wanted to pay the interest on and pay off,3 within eight years, a debt of 21,955,900 having an interest of 1,310,401.50100: it being promised that Dollars 6,481,700 part of the said debt bears an interest of 8 p% & must be paid the last, and that 950,965 dollars of the debt are already paid out of the Treasury, but without stopping the interest. If three millions will do, I think we can with the impost & lands, pay off 38 millions within the eight years 1802–1809. The total amount of unredeemed debt on 1st Jany. 1802 will be 77,866,40263100 of which we shall have already remitted to Holland the above stated sum of 950,965 dollars—The reduction or rather abolition of internal revenues will necessarily depend on the extent of the navy establisht.

I will give a first reading tomorrow to the sketch of the message & write some notes; but I cannot pay to it the proper attention till after Tuesday & will of course return it Monday morning, with a wish to see it afterwards once more.

Respectfully Your most obedt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

You will be pleased to return the sheet of weekly balances.

RC (DLC); undated; addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 15 Nov. and “Nourse’s accts. finance” and so recorded in SJL, but as a letter received 14 Nov.

Estimates for 1802: in an undated, one-page document endorsed by Gallatin as a “Sketch of appropriations & expenditures for year 1802 other than those for public debt” and “also of intended savings & of the probable annual expence resulting therefrom,” the Treasury secretary indicated, in list form, how he proposed to reduce the annual expenditure of $3,700,000 to $2,450,000, the public debt excepted, for a savings of $1,250,000. Gallatin cut the civil list by $126,500, the army by $455,000, and the navy by $508,000, accounting for the major savings. Organizing the proposed expenditure of $2,450,000 for 1802 under “heads in round numbers,” Gallatin allowed $490,000 for the civil list, $160,000 for miscellaneous, and $200,000 for foreign intercourse for a subtotal of $850,000; and $660,000 for the army, $270,000 for arms and fortifications, $70,000 for the Indian department, and $600,000 for the navy for a subtotal of $1,600,000 for military and related expenditures. Below the endorsement, Gallatin wrote: “Mr G. requests the President to return this paper after he shall have examined it—It is only a rough sketch so far as relates to savings, but with the exception of the items ‘Barbary powers’ ‘fabrication of arms’ ‘light houses’ ‘2d census’ & ‘Quarantine laws’ the estimate of appropriations is in conformity to existing laws & estimates furnished by the several departments” (MS in NHi: Gallatin Papers, entirely in Gallatin’s hand, see 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 , 6:36; Tr in DLC: TJ Papers, 118:20417, in Meriwether Lewis’s hand, lacks Gallatin’s endorsement and notation). Gallatin increased the estimate of expenditures for 1802 to almost $3,500,000 in his 12 Dec. report, which was laid before the House of Representatives on the 14th (see Gallatin to TJ, 7 Dec. 1801).

1Preceding word interlined.

2Preceding two words interlined in place of “reduction.”

3Preceding two words interlined in place of “redeem.”

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