Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Hanson, 17 March 1801

To Samuel Hanson

Washington Mar. 17. 1801.

Dear Sir

I have by some accident mislaid the papers recommending mr Moore to be justice of the peace, & therefore cannot get at his Christian name. can you furnish it to me? in the mean time a person of the name of Amariah Frost has been recommended by many. as the vacant place is that of a republican member, is he of that [description]? & is he as good a man as mr Moore? if he be equal in other respects, his having been a justice heretofore ought to give him a preference. I am sorry to trouble you so often: but till I have been here long enough to see with my own eyes, I must avail myself of those of my friends who will advise me conscientiously. accept assurances of my respect & esteem.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); blurred; at foot of text: “Samuel Hanson esq.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.


Mr Moore: Benjamin More.

In a very brief letter to TJ on 16 Mch., Amariah Frost enclosed a subscription on his behalf (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; at foot of text: “Thos. Gefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Mch. and so recorded in SJL). The 27 subscribers recommending Frost noted that he had “been for some Time a Justice of the Peace in the City of Washington” and to the best of their knowledge had “discharged the Duties of that Office to the general Satisfaction of the Citizens.” They urged his reappointment (MS in same; in unidentified hand, signed by William Rhodes, John Cunningham, William Tunnicliff, Thomas Webb, William Prout, and 22 others; at foot of text: “His Excellency—Thos Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States”). In a postscript the writer noted that a similar recommendation had been signed by Thomas Law and others and presented to the president “by Genl. Farnum.” He undoubtedly referred to Joseph B. Varnum, the Republican congressman from Massachusetts. That recommendation, dated Washington, 3 Mch., and signed by Law, Richard Forrest, and Federalist congressmen John Reed, William Shepard, George Thatcher, Ebenezer Mattoon, and Nathan Read, acknowledged Frost’s service as a justice of the peace in Massachusetts and Washington (same, in unidentified hand, endorsed by TJ: “Frost Amariah”; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Dauer, Adams Federalists description begins Manning J. Dauer, The Adams Federalists, Baltimore, 1953 description ends , 323).

On 29 July TJ again received an application from Frost at Washington. Frost sought an appointment, citing his years as justice of the peace in Massachusetts and his commission in Maryland. He stated that he had “not received any Appointment in this City, since the 4th. March last” and wished “to be continued in the same Office, in which he hath acted so long, as he hath fixed his Residence in the City” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; unsigned; in unidentified hand; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ: “Frost Amariah to be justice of the peace”).

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