From Thomas Jefferson
Monticello Apr. 13. 04.
I recieved by last post mr. Gallatin’s observations on Dr. Stevens’s case.1 His outworks are stronger than his main citadel: that is to say, on the 1st. and great question which involves important principle, he yields a good deal, and presents no views of the residue which are new and difficult. But on his 2d. & 3d questions relative to evidence he is truly strong, and his preliminary observations on the 5th. 6th. & 7th. heads of account have weight. You will certainly find it necessary to give it a serious consideration. Will you favor me with the view you shall take of the subject?
Our spring is remarkeably uncheary. A North West wind has been blowing three days. Our peach trees blossomed the 1st. day of this month; the poplar began to leaf, so as to be sensible at a distance, about the 7th. Asparagus shewed itself about 5. days ago; perhaps we may have a dish to-day or tomorrow. But my beds are in a state of total neglect, & therefore not a fair measure of the season. My daughter exhibits little change. No new imposthume has come on, but she rather weakens. Her fever is small & constant. Affectionate salutations.
RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers).
1. Jefferson referred to Gallatin’s report of 31 Mar. 1804 (DLC: Jefferson Papers; 20 pp.) in which Gallatin offered his judgment that if the president believed the government had promised to pay Edward Stevens’s expenses in Saint-Domingue, he might pay Stevens out of the fund for “contingent expences of Government”; that because Stevens’s appointment had been irregular, none of his expenses could be paid out of funds for foreign intercourse; that the evidence of a contract between Stevens and the government “is not such as can or ought to be admitted by the Executive Officers of Government”; and that since no such claim had ever, to Gallatin’s knowledge, been admitted without legislative action, Stevens should apply to Congress for relief. Gallatin enclosed forty-two pages of documents relating to the case. For Stevens’s claim, see JM to Stevens, 17 Apr. 1802, PJM-SS description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends , 3:134 and n. 1.