Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 13 September 1802

To Albert Gallatin

Monticello Sep. 13. 1802.

Dear Sir

On learning the death of Wm. Reynolds Collector of York, and that mr Griffin his deputy would not act at all, I made immediate enquiries for a proper successor, and learn that William Carey of the same place is the best person we can appoint. I this day desire mr Madison to order a commission. I have done this because of the urgency of the case, of your distance, & my presence on the spot.

I have always forgotten to ask of you a general idea of the effect of the peace on our revenues so far as we have gone. it is of the utmost importance, if these diminish, to diminish our expences. this may be done in the Naval department. I wish it were possible to increase the impost on any articles affecting the rich chiefly to the amount of the sugar tax, so that we might relinquish that at the next session. but this must depend on our reciepts keeping up. as to the tea & coffee tax, the people do not regard it. the next tax which an increase of revenue should enable us to suppress should be the salt tax. perhaps indeed the production of that article at home is already undermining that tax.

I have desired the offices to forward me nothing to this place after the mail which leaves Washington on the 24th. inst. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “Albert Gallatin Secretary of the treasury at New York”; franked; postmarked Milton; endorsed. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as a letter to the Treasury Department with notation “Cary—revenue—tax on sugar.”

According to the Treasury Department statement on duties and drawbacks dated 5 Jan. 1802, the SUGAR TAX or the duty collected on sugar imports amounted to $2,818,258 in 1800, but after the payment of drawbacks totaling $1,576,062 on sugar re-exported the amount was decreased to $1,242,196. In 1800, the revenues from the duty on SALT totaled $682,197, after the payment of drawbacks. The repeal of internal taxes in April 1802 reduced revenues by at least $650,000. During the debate over repeal, which extended from 15 to 22 Mch. in the House, the Federalists introduced amendments to eliminate import duties, or external taxes, on brown sugar, salt, coffee, and bohea tea, items consumed by all, instead of the excise or internal tax on carriages, auction sales, and refined sugars, that benefited only the rich (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, 1:702–3, 727–8; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States . . . Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled . . . by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 11:1015–74; 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 , 2:148–50).

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