Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel A. Otis, 11 March 1801

From Samuel A. Otis

Washington. 11th March 1801


Agreably to your directions I send a copy of the record of the last session. The preceeding copy is in books deposited in the office of the late Secy to the President US or probably may be found in the office of the late Secretary for the department of State. I send you also a copy of everything printed during the Session as complete as is in my power. Should however any particular report be omitted be pleased to mention it and I will make a further effort.

Your goodness will excuse my taking this opportunity to mention my son Harrison G Otis Atty for the Massachusetts district; reinstated in the office by Mr Adams to which he was originally [app]ointed by Genl. Washington.

He resigned the office on being elected to Congress and sacrificed a business that at a moderate estimate would have yielded him 20,000 dollars. With a large and increasing family it became imprudent for him longer to continue in congress and peremptorily refused solicitation. On retiring Mr Adams reinstated him in his former office become vacant by Mr Davis’s promotion; and in which should you be pleased to continue him, I am confident he will discharge the duties with honor & fidelity; and in doing which you will oblige an affectionate father &

Your most obedient humble Servt

Sam: A. Otis

RC (DLC); torn; at foot of text: “The President of the United S[tates]”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.


Reinstated in the office: Harrison Gray Otis was among those nominees submitted by President Adams on 18 Feb.; see List of John Adams’s Judicial Appointments, printed at that date. On 3 Sep. 1789 Samuel A. Otis wrote George Washington a letter recommending his son for office, but the president did not make the appointment until 1796. Harrison Gray Otis served as a Massachusetts congressman from 1797 to 1801 (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 3:599). Considering Otis a midnight appointment, TJ appointed George Blake as U.S. attorney in his place (see Appendix I, Lists 3 and 4, and Notes on a Cabinet Meeting, 8 Mch. 1801).

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