Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to William Cranch, June 1798

[June 1798]

Dear Sir

I received your Letter of June 14th. and the one you wrote from Anapolis. In replie to the subject you have written upon, I can only say that there is every disposition to serve the person recommended, but the appointment to office is one of the most perplexing and difficult duties which falls to the Share of the President. The applications are so numerous and frequently of persons who are so equally intitled to them, that the adjudging and appointing, is not unfrequently attended with great pain to the President, for but one can have what many appear to deserve—.With respect to the collector of this port, the applications are many, recommendations strong & powerfull but <one> for one Gentleman <pos> the whole body of Merchants in his behalf have come forward with their Names—In the first place it must be a Native of the State. In the next place it must be a man of strickt honour and integrity, a man long in the habits of Buisness, and one who has not been engaged in Speculations, a firm and decided Friend of his Country. Such is the Gentleman said to be who is the most powerfully recommended and who I presume will be appointed. In all these cases the publick Good must be the ultimate object, and in an appointment of this kind the State and mercantile interest ought to be respected—The Names of all reputable persons offering themselves as canditates for office are placed upon a Book, and attended to when any opening arises for which they are deemed qualified, and this is all that is in my power to say. For one single office the emoluments of which was only twelve hundred dollars pr year 45 candidates stand against it, but one could have it. You may by that one instance judge of the much envyd patronage of the President, of the number dissapointed. No doubt many thought themselves justly, (and were so intitled to it). I mention these circumstances that mr G——f may not think himself slighted.

You will learn before this reaches you that Mr. Marshal is arrived, that Mr. Gerry has been prevaild upon to remain untill he can hear from the Government. He will be much blamed tho I have not a doubt that his views are perfectly pure. I am anxious that his stay will involve him in great and distressing difficulies—and it places us in very serious delema. Talleyrands Letter sent by him to Bach is a proof of their Enemity to the Government and their Agts to divide the people from it—

MHi: Adams Papers.

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