Thomas Jefferson Papers

Richard Harrison to Thomas Jefferson, 3 June 1822

From Richard Harrison

Washington June 3. 1822.

Dear Sir

I have just had the honor to receive your letter of the 31st ulto, and I beg to assure you that it is a source of no little regret to me that I am unable to furnish the extract you require, as the original account rendered by you of your pecuniary transactions of a public nature in Europe, together with the vouchers and documents connected with it, were all destroyed in the Registers office in the memorable conflagration of 1814. With respect, therefore, to the sum of $1148 in question, I can only say that, after full and repeated examination, I considered you as most righteously and justly entitled to receive it; otherwise it will, I trust, be beleived that I could not have consented to the repayment.

I have never seen the last publication you refer to under the signature of “a native of Virginia,” but your answer to the first I think ought, and it doubtless will, satisfy every honest and honorable man in the nation;—and if I could presume to offer an opinion, it would be that the subject is not worthy of further trouble or notice on your part.

During the late Session of Congress I was called on by the Committee on Public Expenditures for information relating to this same bill; and as it may be agreeable to you to have a copy of my answer, I do myself the pleasure to enclose one, although another has been made at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury, probably, also for your use.

With Sentiments of very sincere respect and esteem, I have the honor to remain, always,

Dear Sir Your obedt Servt

R. Harrison

P.S. The “Native of Virginia” is no doubt apprized of the loss of your accounts, or, it is to be presumed, he would not have ventured to vary the wording of his charge in the manner he has done.

RC (DLC); postscript on verso of address cover; addressed: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Washington, 4 June; endorsed by TJ as received 9 June 1822 and so recorded in SJL.

your answer to the first: TJ to Ritchie & Gooch, 13 May 1822.

In addition to the enclosure printed below, at or around this time TJ also received copies of three other pertinent documents: (1) Harrison to Gabriel Duvall, Auditor’s Office, 10 Mar. 1809, which reads “I have examined and adjusted an account between the United States and Thomas Jefferson late Minister of the United States at Paris and find that the sum of one thousand, one hundred & forty eight Dollars is due from the United States unto the said Thomas Jefferson, being the value of Two thousand, eight hundred & Seventy Guilders brought provisionaly to his debit in the adjustment of his accounts at the Treasury  Report No 15,871 beyond the amount which appears to have been actually paid to him by the Bankers of the Department of State at Amsterdam and which sum is to be entered to the debit of Suspense account, a credit for the same having been passed to said account. As will appear on reference to the above mentioned Report No 15871 and to the Statement herewith transmitted for the decision of the Comptroller of the Treasury thereon” (Tr in DLC; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Harrison; at head of text: “No 21,387 (Copy)”; at foot of text: “To Gabriel Duvall Esqr Comptroller of the Treasury”; endorsed by TJ: “Quietus on settlemt of my public accts as Minister to France”).

(2) Harrison’s certificate on proposed payment to TJ, [10 Mar. 1809], which reads “The United States, To Thomas Jefferson, late Minister of the U. States at Paris, Dr For this sum, being the value of 2870 guilders, brought to his debit in the settlement of his accounts at the Treasury,  Report No 15,871;—beyond the amount which appears to have been actually paid to him by the Bankers of the Department of State, at Amsterdam; at 40 cents  guilder Dolls. 1.148. The above statement is grounded on a bill credited by Mr Jefferson, as drawn by him on the Bankers at Amsterdam, under date of 21st October 1789, for Bo f. [i.e., ‘florins banco’] 2,800, equal with agio @ 2½ cent. to bo f. 2870: which Mr Jefferson supposes was sent to his Agent at Paris,—but who had not occasion to use it.—However this may be, it has never yet appeared as a charge against the United States, in any account rendered by those Bankers;—and, probably, never will.—It is, nevertheless, submitted whether some guarantee against all future demands may not be proper on the part of Mr Jefferson” (Tr in DLC: TJ Papers, 187:33192, 33195; in Patrick Ferrall’s hand, including Harrison’s signature at foot of text and, between statement and explanation of statement, copies of 10 Mar. 1809 attestations by Ferrall, of the Auditor’s Office, and Andrew Ross, of the Comptroller’s Office; undated; docketed by Harrison: “Copy of a certificate in favor of Thos Jefferson, as Minister to France, for the value of a certain bill drawn by him on the Bankers of the U. States at Amsterdam.—Taken from the Record of Reports kept in the Auditors Office; the original being lost or destroyed in the Registers Office”).

(3) Harrison to Joseph Anderson, Auditor’s Office, 29 May 1822 (his reply to the request of the secretary of the treasury), which reads “Agreeable to your request I now send you a copy of my letter to the Chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures, in answer to a call made by him for information on the subject of a certain bill drawn by Mr Jefferson, as Minister to France, on the Bankers of the United States at Amsterdam—I also enclose a copy of my Certificate, as recorded in Report Book O, on which the value of said bill was refunded.—I have not the means of furnishing <any> further explanation of this transaction, unless a copy from my Records of the Report on Mr Jeffersons General Accot Currt, in Guilders, should be supposed to afford any that is material. In that Report he is provisionally charged with the bill in question” (Tr in DLC, in Harrison’s hand and signed by him, dateline beneath signature, at foot of text: “Jos. Anderson Esq Comptroller of the Treasury,” endorsed by TJ: “Harrison R. to the Comptroller”; Tr in MHi, address cover only, with PoC of TJ to Julius A. Bingham, 2 July 1822, on verso, addressed by Harrison: “The Comptroller of the Treasury”).

Index Entries

  • Anderson, Joseph; as comptroller of the treasury search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Duvall, Gabriel; as comptroller of the treasury search
  • Ferrall, Patrick; Treasury Department clerk search
  • Grand, Ferdinand; as banker search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); and settlement of TJ’s account search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); letters from search
  • House of Representatives, U.S.; Public Expenditures Committee search
  • Ross, Andrew; Treasury Department clerk search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; Register’s Office search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • Washington, D.C.; British destruction in search
  • Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard (Amsterdam firm) search
  • “A Native of Virginia” (pseudonym); accuses TJ of misuse of public funds search
  • “A Native of Virginia” (pseudonym); TJ’s replies to search