Washington July 21. 06.
I now return you your papers. I had a consultation two days ago with the Secretaries of the Navy & Treasury on this subject. they both agreed that when once an account has been settled by the Navy-accountant, & has been decided on by the Comptroller, the Navy department can never more touch it, it can never add to or take from it, because the Comptroller is the final judge: and if any error has been committed, he alone has power to correct it, or if it is beyond his legal powers, then the legislature alone can authorize a correction. yesterday I spoke with the Comptroller. he very much doubts whether he has legal authority now to correct any defect or error in the award; should there be one: but he will consider the case, & confer with the Secretary of the Navy & accountant, & if he has power, he will examine if there has been any error, and do what is just. he will therefore give you a final answer, & if it be beyond his power, the legislature alone can supply it. Accept my salutations & best wishes.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.