Balt. Sep. 27. 1807—
As we are to assemble so soon at Washington I have declined instituting any judicial proceeding in the Case of Capt. Porter. The Officers necessary to form a Court are at this time so dispersed and so occupied that it would be not only very difficult but very inconvenient to convene them for such a purpose. The veiw which you Mr. Madison & indeed all of us have of the proper Course of proceeding in his case, when taken in the abstract, is beyond a doubt correct. But when we look at it in connection with outrages almost similar on the part of British Officers, there is some embarressment. The records of the State Dept. will, I believe, when cases of corporal punishment inflicted on American Citizens by British Navy Officers & of applications for satisfaction having been made by this Government without obtaining it.
The enclosed will shew you the ideas of two practical men upon the project of Thos. Paine. Respectfy.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.