Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Waterman, 17 March 1801

From Thomas Waterman

City of Washington, March 17th: 1801.


In the present crises of Affairs, should a vacancy occur, in the office of Commissioner of the revenue, or Accountant to the Navy department, I beg leave to solicit your confidence, in the appointment to either; possessed of a competent knowledge of business, I pledge myself to a just & faithful discharge, of those duties, you may please to entrust me with.—

Permit me Sir, shall you deem it worthy your attention, to refer you to John & Jno: T. Mason of Georgetown, Messrs: Anderson, Cocke & Mason of the Senate, & the republican members of the house of representatives from Pennsylvania.

It may not be amiss to observe to you that from a strict adherence, to certain principles imbibed at an early period of my life, I have been obliged to be contented, with a subordinate situation during the last administration, having at the same time an increasing family to support.—

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the highest respect & esteem, your obedt. hum. Servt:

Th: Waterman

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.


Thomas Waterman had moved with the federal government from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., and in 1801 continued to be employed as a clerk in the Register’s Office at the Treasury Department. He believed his salary had remained low under the Federalists because he possessed “certain political principles,” and William Duane identified him as a Republican on a list of government clerks. In 1801 and again in 1802 he unsuccessfully applied for positions in the Treasury secretary’s office. In 1803 Waterman wrote from Philadelphia, where he was employed as an accountant, seeking appointment as a bankruptcy commissioner for Pennsylvania. In 1808 he was selected to serve as a customs inspector at the port (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 5:25; 6:355, 937; 7:649; 17:61, 104, 259; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1805 [Philadelphia, 1805], lxxii; same, The Philadelphia Directory for 1809 [Philadelphia, 1809], liv; Waterman to TJ, 19 July 1803).

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