Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 9 April 1803

From Albert Gallatin

Treasury Department April 9: 1803.


I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter from the Treasurer of the United States, relative to the proclamation contemplated by the Act of the 8: May 1792: and the effect of which will be to prevent thereafter any other copper coin passing current than cents and half cents.

It appears by the enclosed statement that more than fifty six thousand dollars had been received in the Treasury, in cents and half cents, as early as the 31: March 1800; notwithstanding which the proclamation was forgotten.   Under those circumstances the Treasurer having thought it his duty to apply for specific instructions, I beg leave to lay the subject before you; in order to know whether you perceive any objection to his giving immediately the notice required by the law.—

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, Your obed. Servant

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Gallatin; at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 9 Apr. and “Copper coin” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Thomas Tudor Tucker to Gallatin, 4 Apr. 1803, observing that the 8 May 1792 Act that provides “for a copper coinage” requires that public notice be given when the Treasury receives from the Mint “in Cents and half Cents,” a sum not less than $50,000; the Treasury received this sum before Tucker’s appointment, but no notice was given; he requests instructions on how to proceed (Tr in same). (2) Statement of “Account of Cents and half Cents received into the Treasury from the Mint; to the 1st. January 1803,” dated 8 Apr. 1803, from the Register’s Office, being a list of 44 warrants, with dates and sums for each, drawn in favor of the treasurer of the United States on the treasurer of the Mint from 31 Mch. 1793 to 31 Dec. 1802, totaling $107,495.19 (MS in same; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Joseph Nourse).

proclamation: the 8 May 1792 “Act to provide for a Copper Coinage” noted that six months after the U.S. Treasury received “a sum not less than” $50,000 in cents and half cents from the U.S. Mint, the Treasurer of the United States was to place an announcement in two newspapers at the seat of government that “no copper coins or pieces whatsoever, except the said cents and half cents, shall pass current as money, or shall be paid, or offered to be paid or received in payment for any debt.” A fine of $10 and forfeiture would be imposed on those attempting to use other copper coins or pieces in financial transactions (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 , 1:284). In his 1 Jan. 1802 annual report, Director of the Mint Elias Boudinot had also expressed concern that the public announcement required by the 1792 Act had not been made (Vol. 36:604n).

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