From William Munson
City of New Haven February 22. 1801
I Congratulate you and Myself on your Election as President of the United States, the News of which arrived here Last Evening
You No doubt remember, that at the time that I delivered to you the Votes of the Electors of the State of Connecticut, that I informed you that I was the Surveyor of the District of New Haven, and that there was a probability that the office of the Collector would Soon become Vacant, and that in Case it should happen, that I would wish to be Considered as a Candidate for that office
My Very perticular friend Pierpont Edwards Esquire, in his Letter to you of the 5th instant, informed you that the Event which I then Expected has taken place
It is Needless for me to go into a perticular detail of my pretentions to that office; it is probable that my Letters and papers on that Subject, which I have Sent to President Adams, will of Coarse fall into your hands, provided an appointment should not be made before you have full power to act as the Supreme Majistrate of the United States; I however in a few words inform you, that I have faithfully Served my Country, as a Commisiond officer, from the begining, to the End of the Late American war, and that I have Served in the office of Surveyor and Inspector of the Revenue in this District from the tenth day of February 1793 and have once during a Vacancy of a Collector, performed that Duty more than two months
You are no doubt personally acquainted with Mr Eliza Goodrich, a Member of Congress, who I Conceive to be the most powerful Candidate for the office now in question; all my other Competitors for this office as farr as has Come to my knowledge, have Exerted their whole power and force against your Election, and in Case their papers should Come into your hands you will probably be acquainted with Some of the Most Influencial Chareacters that Support them
I have not Since the death of the Collector taken any pains to procure any recommendations other than those I had procured on former Occasions, all which have been forwarded to the President of the United States, I therefore Now Submit the business to those that have the appointment, and Not without hope that I may Succed in my application
I have the honor to be Sir your most Obedient and Very humble Servant
RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.
William Munson (1747–1826), a Republican merchant in New Haven, continued to serve as surveyor of customs for the port until his death (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:543–4; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States… to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:129–30).
When Munson delivered the votes of the electors for the state of Connecticut in December 1800, he brought along a letter of introduction from Pierpont Edwards (Edwards to TJ, 16 Dec. 1800). On 6 Feb. Edwards informed TJ of the death of the New Haven collector and recommended Munson, “a meritorious officer, and a very worthy republican,” for the office. Edwards observed: “it is the wish of the republicans here, and, I believe, of the major part of the Federalists that he shou’d be appointed collector; for which office I deem him well qualified in every respect” (RC in DLC; at foot of text: “Honorable Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Feb. and so recorded in SJL).
My letters and papers: on 5 Feb. 1801 Munson wrote Adams informing him of the vacancy in the collector’s office and applying for the position. He enclosed copies of his previous applications in 1793 and 1799 and the references he had obtained, including those from town officials and those signed by numerous merchants from New Haven and the separate districts of Derby and Milford (MHi: Adams Papers).
Vacancy of a collector: Jonathan Fitch, appointed collector at New Haven in 1789, died in September 1793, several months after Munson became surveyor. Munson assumed the collector’s duties and submitted reports to the Treasury Department until the appointment of David Austin, Sr., who was confirmed by the Senate on 30 Dec. 1793 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 14:92; 15:340, 352, 360–1, 396; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States… to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:10, 143–4).
On 18 Feb. Adams nominated Elizur Goodrich to serve as collector at New Haven in place of Austin. Goodrich resigned his congressional seat to accept the appointment (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States… to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:382; Biog. Dir. Cong.).