Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Robert Smith, 9 August 1807

Monticello Aug. 9. 07.

Dear Sir

Soon after my arrival here I recieved a letter from Govr. Cabell requesting me to give such instructions for regulating the intercourse with the British squadron as might enable the officers to act correctly. I accordingly undertook to digest the rules of practice as to flags as well as I could, & so as to meet all cases, in a letter to the governor, a copy of which I now inclose you. soon after sending it I learnt from mr Madison that the arrangement at Washington, had not been known or understood to exclude the officer commanding on shore from the right of communicating by flag, and that some particular orders from the war office respecting mr Erskine’s letters might produce a collision. I have therefore written to Govr. Cabell, making the correction stated at the foot of the inclosed letter, which is the safer, as mr Newton (of Congress) is the Major Commandant ashore. you will see by the letter that I meant to send a copy of it to Capt. Decatur but have thought it more proper to send it to you, with a request to forward it, or a copy to him. mr Newton recieving also a copy, they will be enabled to act by one uniform rule. I salute you with affection and respect;

Th: Jefferson

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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