Thomas Jefferson Papers

William A. Burwell to Thomas Jefferson, 28 November 1818

From William A. Burwell

washington Novbr 28th 1818—

Dear Sir,

Yesterday at a meeting of the Committee of Ways & Means it was proposed to change the duties on wine agreable to your suggestion, & to lessen the duty upon Books printed in Foreign languages imported into the U States—

both Subjects have been refer’d to Mr Crawford for his consideration and unless he urges some strong objection I am persuaded they will pass both houses of Congress. I understand from Mr Milligan none but the most common School Books in Latin or Greek are printed in America. of course high duties to protect American Manufactures (the ordinary apology) are not necessary—the spirited exertions making to revive education will speedily increase the demand for Classical & scientific Books and every obstacle to the cheap importation of them should be removed—

I have been requested by Mr Milligan to mention that Tracys work is at length publish’d—

as I have not heard that your health is worse I indulge the hope you have gradually recoverd, and again enjoy that blessing. will you be so good as to remember me in the kindest manner to the family. and accept Dr Sir my best wishes for your health1 & happiness

W. A. Burwell.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 6 Dec. 1818 and so recorded in SJL.

On 8 Dec. 1818 the United States House of Representative’s committee of ways & means reported a bill to reduce import duties on certain wines and eliminate them on books printed in foreign languages. The reference to books was no longer in the bill’s title when the House approved it on 26 Feb. 1819, and after passing in the Senate on 3 Mar. 1819, it became law the same day as “An Act to regulate the duties on certain wines.” The statute reduced the tariff on wines not enumerated in a 27 Apr. 1816 law from seventy to thirty cents per gallon when imported in bottles or cases and from twenty-five to fifteen cents a gallon in other containers (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 12:71, 183, 303–4, 315, 320; JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 8:314, 317, 329, 345; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, 1845–67, 8 vols. description ends , 3:515).

Continuing earlier lobbying efforts made directly to the Treasury Department, TJ presumably offered Burwell his suggestion that Congress lower the duties on wine and books in person prior to 23 Nov. 1818, when Burwell returned to Washington having recently visited Monticello (TJ to Alexander J. Dallas, 26 Feb. 1816 (third letter); TJ to William H. Crawford, 10 Nov. 1818; James Monroe to TJ, 23 Nov. 1818; Elizabeth Trist to Nicholas P. Trist, 28 Nov. 1818 [DLC: NPT]).

1Manuscript: “heath.”

Index Entries

  • An Act to regulate the duties on certain wines (1819) search
  • A Treatise on Political Economy (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • books; tariffs on search
  • Burwell, William Armistead; in U.S. House of Representatives search
  • Burwell, William Armistead; letters from search
  • Burwell, William Armistead; visits Monticello search
  • Congress, U.S.; and tariffs search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; A Treatise on Political Economy search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; Ways and Means Committee search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; illness of search
  • Milligan, Joseph; and Destutt de Tracy’sTreatise on Political Economy search
  • Milligan, Joseph; on publishing in U.S. search
  • Monticello (TJ’s Albemarle Co. estate); Visitors to; Burwell, William A. search
  • political economy; works on search
  • taxes; on imports search
  • taxes; on wine search
  • wine; tariff on search