have we a right to give passages generally to private individuals whenever a public vessel is passing from one place to another? … these are my hasty thoughts on the subject. be so good as to weigh & correct them, & do in it what you think right.—
To James Madison, August 22, 1801
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Confident leaders let trusted subordinates make their own decisions.
Jefferson wrote to his Secretary of State about a number of issues in this letter. One was the prickly matter of granting permission to a private individual to travel on an American ship as if he had some kind of official status.
Jefferson gave his off-the-cuff thoughts. He invited his dear friend and trusted lieutenant Madison to review them, correct where he was wrong, and make whatever decision he thought best.