Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 14 December 1802

To Albert Gallatin

Dec. 14. 1802.

Th: Jefferson to Mr. Gallatin

Mr. Duval’s nomination waits only for a Senate. it may be sent in tomorrow & confirmed the next day.   I inclose you a copy of a letter from our agent at the Havanna stating reasons to believe a great number of slaves are smuggling and about to be smuggled into Georgia and S. Carolina. would it not be well to inclose a copy of it to the Collectors of those states, and to direct their revenue cutters to be aiding to the state laws in preventing this contraband, by seizing and informing, and for this purpose plying on the proper grounds for intercepting them? health & affectionate salutations.

RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “The Secretary of the Treasury.” PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notation “Duval. slave trade.” Enclosure: Vincent Gray to Madison, 10 Nov. 1802, noting that the slave trade from Havana, Nassau, and St. Augustine to South Carolina and Georgia “is now carried on to a very great extent”; using small vessels, such as large pilot boats, the slaves are conveyed to the U.S. coast and “disposed of generally, to great advantage” (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 4:109–10).

On 20 Dec., the Treasury Department issued a circular letter to the customs collectors in Georgia and South Carolina, including Robert G. Guerard, the collector at Beaufort. A copy of the 10 Nov. letter from Vincent Gray was transmitted with the circular as “directed” by the president. Gallatin requested that Guerard and the other collectors “lend such aid as comes within the sphere of your official Powers, in detecting and informing the proper authority, of any attempts of the kind contemplated in the letter, which may contravene the laws of your State” (RC 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 , 7:831; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Gallatin; endorsed: “Circular to the Collectors of Georgia & South-Carolina”; also endorsed in another hand: “Letters respecting the bringing Negroes in Small Vessells”). revenue cutters: a sentence was added to the circular sent to Thomas de Mattos Johnson, collector at Savannah, requesting that he communicate the information to the master of the cutter at the port “in order that he may assist in the same object” (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 56, CL; Vol. 33:220n). For Madison’s circular letter to the governors of Georgia and South Carolina on the same subject, see Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 4:189–90.

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