Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. John Steele to Albert Gallatin, [19 November 1801]

I. John Steele to Albert Gallatin

Thursday Noon. [19 Nov. 1801]

Dear Sir,

Will you look over the enclosed, with my remarks, and if you concur, say whether it be fit that I shd. write an official letter on the subject to the Secrry. at war. If I understand the case one of the points can only be decided by the President not as President, but as Trustee, or Guardian of the Indians, the other by the Secrry. at War in his quality of Superintendant &ca. You know I suppose that the Bank dividends remitted to the Seneca Indians, are the proceeds of an investment made by Mr. Morris for their use.

Yours sincerely & respectfully

Jno. Steele

RC (DLC); partially dated; addressed: “Private The Secrry. of the Treasury”; endorsed by Gallatin: “Mr Steele &c Mr Meredith’s claim”; with Gallatin’s referral written on the address panel and TJ’s reply alongside. Enclosure: probably Henry Dearborn to Steele, 19 Nov. 1801, with other papers not found (see below).

On 18 Nov., Henry Dearborn received a letter from Samuel Meredith, written at Washington the previous day, stating Meredith’s claim for commissions on funds he had paid as an agent for the War Department (not found, but recorded in DNA: RG 107, RLRMS). Dearborn wrote to Steele, the comptroller, on 19 Nov., enclosing papers from Meredith and asking if the claims “can or cannot be considered as a fair and proper charge against the Public if allowed at this Office.” Dearborn informed Steele that he had let Meredith know “I shall have no objection to allowing him a reasonable compensation for any services he may have performed, that can be considered as unconnected with his duties as a public Officer, but I shall hold myself restricted by the established rules of the Treasury Department” (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 107, MLS; enclosures not found). On the 21st, Dearborn received another communication from Meredith on the subject. Also on 21 Nov., Steele sent an official letter to Dearborn. Meredith wrote the secretary of war again on the 30th, this time enclosing an account of money he had paid for the War Department’s Indian “factories,” or trading houses. Meredith’s and Steele’s letters to Dearborn, recorded in correspondence registers of the War Department, have not been found (Meredith to Dearborn, 18, 30 Nov. 1801, and Steele to Dearborn, 21 Nov., all recorded in DNA: RG 107, RLRMS).

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