Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 20 [i.e. 21] November 1801

From Albert Gallatin

Sat. 20 [i.e. 21] Nov. 1801

Dear Sir

Please to read the enclosed letter from the collector of Nottingham (about 30 miles from this) and the intended answer. His servant waits & informs me verbally that a number of arms were, (since writing the letter) found on board. The Collector ought to have acted instead of writing for instructions. But it is necessary to dispatch immediately his messenger. If you think any alteration in the answer necessary, be good enough to mention the same. The bearer will wait for your answer—

With great respect Your obedt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); partially misdated; addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of “Nov. 20. 1801. for Nov. 21,” received 21 Nov., and “Collector of Nottingham” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) George Briscoe to Gallatin, Nottingham, Maryland, 19 Nov., describing a suspicious vessel brought into port “said to be the Sally,” a 60-ton schooner, which sailed from Charleston on 10 Oct., commanded by Elias De Butts; upon landing in distress, the captain left for Baltimore and ordered the Sally to go 30 miles up the Patuxent River, instead of to Norfolk, where the vessel was said to belong; left without papers, the schooner’s cargo includes tobacco, rum, flour, bread, crackers, and wine; an inspector and guard have been placed on board, but the cargo has not been landed “for want of a necessary warehouse”; in closing, Briscoe requests, “The man who delivers you this is a Special messenger, and by him you will be pleased to direct the proper mode for me to proceed in” (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 , 6:56). (2) Probably Gallatin to Briscoe, Treasury Department, 20 Nov., noting that the vessel, under the circumstances as described by the collector, “is, even if no crime has been committed, liable to forfeiture if she has any distilled spirits of any kind, or any articles of foreign growth on board”; the master also being liable to penalties under several sections of the Coasting Act, Gallatin recommends that the collector “seize and dismantle the vessel and have the cargo landed and stored in any private Warehouse” and authorizes any expenses incurred; while the Treasury secretary cannot give advice as to proceedings to be pursued with civil authorities, he notes “if there are strong suspicions of any act of piracy having been committed, as this is an offence against the United States, it is your duty to apply to the proper Officer and forcibly represent the circumstances of the case in order that all the parties may be arrested and each of them privately examined by him”; further actions to be determined after the examination at the discretion of the judge (same, 6:85).

On 21 Nov., Gallatin also sent TJ the “Weekly list of Warrants issued on Treasurer Week ending 21 Nover. 1801,” reporting eight warrants, Nos. 134 to 141, inclusive, for a total of $206,626.25, including No. 136 for $4,534.26 issued to John Smith, the marshal of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for the census; four warrants under the military establishment, totaling more than $150,000, including No. 134 for $50,000 for fortifications; and one warrant, No. 137, for $50,000, for the navy (MS in DLC; entirely in Gallatin’s hand; address clipped: “ted States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 21 Nov. and “Warrts” and so recorded in SJL).

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