Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 27 December 1801

From Albert Gallatin

27th Decer. 1801

Dear Sir

I enclose the general outlines of the list of public officers. The paper which wraps up the others is the general sketch of the whole under its proper heads.

The three Schedules B. C. D are the sketches of the returns which should be filled by the three departments of State, War & Navy—The Schedule A. which relates to the civil department, being very long to transcribe & to be filled by myself, is not enclosed—The deputy post masters must be returned with their emoluments for the last year which can be ascertained—say 1800, by the Postmaster general—The revenue officers with all their details will be furnished by the Treasury Department. As almost all the officers under the heads of Military & Naval Establishments are salary officers, those two departments can furnish the lists within half the time which will be necessary to complete the general return of the officers of the external revenues. These & the clerks are the most difficult or at least lengthy to ascertain—The last, (the clerks) for all the departments will be furnished by the Treasury department more correctly than by the respective Departments to which they belong.

The classification is made in relation to the manner in which they are paid, &, with a few irregularities arising from that manner of classing the officers, will make on the whole as methodical arrangement as we can form for this year

I have not the returns of the State department nor that of the War do. That of the Navy I also enclose in order that by comparing it with Schedule D you may see in what it is deficient1 vizt.

1st. It includes the salaries of Secretary, Accountant & Clerks which the Treasury will return under the head of civil department

2d. it does not include the officers of the navy

3d. it does not include those of the marines

4th. it does not designate the names of the navy agents, superintendents & store keepers

5th. it does not state the rate of commission of the navy agents, but only, on estimate, the supposed gross amount of the same for one year

6th. it does not, I believe, include the names & offices of all the agents yet employed. In this, however, I may be mistaken—

Perhaps,2 it would be well, in relation to every class of officers to include the officers abolished by you (inspectors of int. revenues—superintendents for building vessels &a) written in red ink & to be printed in italics, so as to show at one glance what has already been done. Please to let me know your opinion, as, in transcribing the returns to be furnished by the T.D. I would direct the clerks accordingly.3

If you approve of the general distribution, I think it will be best to give the outlines of it to each department. they are taken, with a few alterations in the arrangement, principally from the annual estimates. It is probable that Captain Lewis might improve that of the War department from his knowledge of the agents, unknown to law, employed in various capacities & many of whom I am confident I have omitted.

The whole may certainly be prepared this week, & the revenue officers will not be completed before the middle of the ensuing one—The whole when done will form a formidable list; but I had no idea that it would be so complex & difficult completely to obtain—

I will try to day to complete the three column list of expenses & proposed savings.

The business of Doct. Barraud will come of course in the report on the hospitals which will be prepared in the course of about ten days. It cannot be done sooner, as the whole of it with all the details can only be prepared by myself, & of course must be done only at leisure hours.

This will complete every official document from the Treasury Dept. intended for Congress; but I am afraid the investigation in the public expenditure will give the four departments more work than the whole of their current business put together.4

With perfect respect & sincere affection Your obedt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); with one cancellation and other markings inserted in pencil, perhaps by TJ, indicating text to be omitted in Tr (see notes below); addressed: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 27 Dec. and “list of officers” and so recorded in SJL. Tr (DLC: Madison Papers); in Meriwether Lewis’s hand; partial text only (see notes below). Tr enclosed in TJ to Madison, 29 Dec. Enclosure: perhaps “Estimate of Compensations to Clerks &c. in the Navy department, Navy Agents, Superintendants & Clerks of Navy yards & Storekeepers, for the year 1802,” Navy Department, 14 Dec. 1801, listing four clerical positions in the secretary’s office and eight in the accountant’s office plus a messenger in each for a total compensation of $12,960; commissions to unnamed navy agents in seven cities and Georgia, ranging from $500 in Charleston to $2,500 in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, for a total of $13,000; salaries of $1,200 for superintendents of navy yards at Charlestown, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C., and $600 for clerks and storekeepers at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Norfolk, and Washington for a total of $6,000; for a grand total of $31,960 (MS in DLC; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Robert Smith; endorsed by TJ: “Departmt. Navy”; endorsed by a clerk; endorsed in another hand: “Duplicate”). Other enclosure printed, in part, below.

TJ evidently agreed with Gallatin’s proposal to highlight by printing in italics the names of those officers dismissed when their positions were abolished. For instance, the finished list includes William Loughton Smith, at the court of Portugal, with other U.S. ministers, but in italics with the notice “vacated,” making it clear that the salary and expenses of $11,250 would be saved, along with an additional savings of $1,350 for a secretary. The same information is evident in the elimination of the office of inspector under internal revenues (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Miscellaneous, 1:280–7, 306–7). William Duane printed the list by the 16 Feb. 1802 order of the Senate as Message from the President of United States, Transmitting a Roll of the Persons Having Office or Employment under the United States (Washington, D.C., 1802).

On 24 Dec., TJ sent Gallatin the 20 Dec. letter he received from Monroe, recommending Philip Barraud. Monroe also wrote the Treasury secretary directly on 20 Dec., introducing the Norfolk physician, who wished to confer with Gallatin on the marine hospital at the port. Barraud had written the Treasury secretary in September in an effort to retain his position. Gallatin submitted his report on the hospitals to the president on 16 Feb. 1802 (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 , 5:744, 6:253).

Investigation in the Public Expenditure: on 14 Dec., the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a committee “to inquire and report whether moneys drawn from the Treasury have been faithfully applied to the objects for which they were appropriated, and whether the same have been regularly accounted for; and to report, likewise whether any further arrangements are necessary to promote economy, enforce adherence to legislative restrictions, and secure the accountability of persons entrusted with the public money.” Joseph H. Nicholson headed the committee of seven appointed to carry out the resolution. The investigation was prompted by Gallatin, who advocated reforms to assure greater accountability in the distribution of public funds. TJ referred to several of Gallatin’s recommendations in his first annual message to Congress, including the need for specific appropriations to circumscribe discretionary spending. On 19 Jan. 1802, Gallatin sent Nicholson a letter addressing the “objects of enquiry for your committee.” The questions posed by the Treasury secretary formed the statement submitted by Nicholson to the committee on 21 Jan., which the panel approved and sent to Gallatin as the questions they wished answered (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:17, 60; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Finance, 1:754–5; 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 , 6:505; Documents VIII and X in Drafting the Annual Message to Congress, printed at 12 Nov. 1801).

1Tr lacks remainder of paragraph, that is, the statements numbered one through six.

2Word canceled in RC, probably by TJ. Tr lacks the word.

3Tr lacks preceding sentence.

4Tr lacks two preceding paragraphs.

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