Memorandum on Delaware River Piers
Congress having appropriated a sum of 30,000. D. for repairing and erecting public piers in the river Delaware we ought not so to employ the money as to oblige them to give double the sum, but to plan the works on the scale they have fixed. certainly a wharf is not a pier, and not authorised to be built with money appropriated to piers. I approve of the proposition to repair the decayed piers in the first place; to call for proposals for building those for fort Penn & Marcus hook; and in the mean time think we should enquire whether either or both of these be more important than those proposed at Newcastle, whether there be danger that any of them will obstruct the navigation, and ultimately decide to do what is most advantageous for the river on the whole, within the limits of the appropriation.
The last section of the lighthouse bill, which TJ signed on 6 Apr. 1802, included an appropriation, “not exceeding” $30,000, for REPAIRING AND ERECTING PUBLIC PIERS in the Delaware River (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:150–2). The Treasury secretary was to oversee the expenditures, “under the direction of the President,” and TJ probably sent this memorandum to Gallatin. The PROPOSITION has not been found, but Gallatin applied to the customs offices at Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, for information (see TJ to Gallatin, 13 July; Gallatin to TJ, 17 July 1802).