Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Richard Rogers, 16 May 1801

From Richard Rogers

New York May 16. 1801


The Liberty I am about taking of addressing the Chief Magistrate of my Country will I trust to your benevolence be Excused when I state my motives for so doing—

Various reports respecting an alteration in the civil Establishment of the United States—particularly in the Revenue department—naturally has created an Alarm among the officers at present filling these situations I deem it a duty I owe you Sir—and myself to state what has appeared to many an honest claim to a Continuance in the office I have the honor of holding under the general Government.

I have Sir for upwards of fourteen years been in the public service—in the Commissions office for settling the accounts of the marine & other accounts under the old Confederation—in the Comptrollers department of the Treasury under the present—& Eleven years in the Naval office of this port—Seven as Deputy under Co. Walker four as principal to which I had the honor of being appointed by General Washington, on Co. Walkers resigning—

How I have discharged the duties of this arduous office Is not for me to say—The officers of the Treasury & Gentlemen of the mercantile Interest here are the best Judges, & to their Judjment I can I beleive rely with a good & honest Confidence—

As Justice to myself & family has induced me thus to address you Sir—& in an interview I had some days ago with the Vice president he did me the honor of saying, that if called upon he would readily give his testimony in my favor—

I have the Honor to be With great Respect, Sir Your Most Obedient, Most Humble Servant,

R Rogers

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “The president of the united states”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 May and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off.”

Richard Rogers (ca. 1748–1820) was a native of England and Loyalist during the Revolutionary War, when he was employed in the British admiralty court. He became naval officer for the port of New York in 1797, following the resignation of Benjamin Walker. Although denounced as an obnoxious Federalist by many New York Republicans, Rogers was also acknowledged to be a capable and competent officer. These latter circumstances would help delay his removal from office until 10 May 1803, when TJ replaced him with Samuel Osgood (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 , 1:226; Vol. 33:673; Denniston & Cheetham to TJ, 12 June 1801; Albert Gallatin to TJ, 12 Sep. 1801).

In a letter of 18 May to Samuel Smith, Burr recalled his interview with Rogers, stating “that if asked, I should say that I had heard that he executed the duties of his office with punctuality” (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:582).

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