Transcript for: Jefferson to Albert Gallatin


Th. J. to Mr. Gallatin.

I happened to be extraordinarily pressed by business, which prevented my answering on the subject of Worthington’s resignation, but I observed to him yesterday that as he had a right to resign, his act of resignation was final, and did not need an acceptance to validate it. If he apprehends any question, he might be furnished with an acceptance of the same date with his resignation. Spencer shall be nominated register. But as to the place of light-house keeper at Old Point Comfort solicited by Latimer, you may recollect that long ago I had the most powerful recommendations in favor of Captain Samuel Eddins, a Revolutionary officer of great merit, the officer who in the days of terror saved Mr. Jones’s press in Richmond from being pulled down by a mob of Federalists, and a good Republican. These recommendations have been lying by me eighteen months: by the by, I do not know whether the appointment is by you or me, and if the latter, whether it must go to the Senate. I have given Mr. Ellicot’s letter to Mr. Madison for inquiry and consideration. This should have been settled by him with our predecessors, who alone could estimate the secret service and his authority to engage in it. I think with you on the subject of the smuggling at Michilimackinac: that we must not get into disagreement with the Indians; that without openly relinquishing the right of collection, the officer should wink at things at a distance and go on as he has done. In time we shall get rid of those traders by underselling them, and engage the Indians themselves in watching for us against smugglers. You are right, in my opinion, as to Mr. L.’s proposition: there is no constitutional difficulty as to the acquisition of territory, and whether, when acquired, it may be taken into the Union by the Constitution as it now stands, will become a question of expediency. I think it will be safer not to permit the enlargement of the Union but by amendment of the Constitution. Accept affectionate salutations.