From Joseph H. Nicholson
Centre-Ville (Md.) May 29. 1801
I did myself the Honor about two Months past to address you on the subject of some Charges which I had heard made against Captain Nicholson of the Navy, and which I was fearful might operate to his Disadvantage. These I did hope would never again require my Attention; but about four Weeks ago General Smith in Conversation with me in Baltimore mentioned one of them in such a Manner as induced me to think it ought to be repell’d in some other Way than by my own single Assertion. As soon therefore as I returned to the Eastern shore, I wrote to Boston, and have procured a Number of Letters one of which is addressed to you, and which I now take the Liberty of forwarding—The others I have enclosed to Mr. Gallatin, General Dear-borne and Genl. Smith.
I am Sir most respectfully Yr. Ob. Serv.
Joseph H. Nicholson
RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 1 June and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off”; also endorsed by TJ: “Navy. Capt Nicholson.” Enclosure: Edward Dowse to TJ, 12 May 1801.
Ought to be repell’d: seeking evidence to refute the charge that his uncle “was addicted to hard drinking,” Joseph H. Nicholson wrote Captain Samuel Nicholson at Charlestown, Massachusetts, on 2 May, apprising him of his conversation with Samuel Smith. As advised by his nephew, Captain Nicholson quickly collected certificates and letters from “a few good and well known Men” of both political parties and forwarded them to Maryland on 17 May (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 , 5:46, 69, 71). Besides the letter enclosed to TJ, they included a statement signed by Federalists Henry Knox and Benjamin Hall and Republican Henry Jackson from Boston, 13 May; a letter from William Hull, a Republican, to Jackson, 14 May; another from William Eustis to Dearborn, 15 May; a certificate by the Federalist James Lloyd, Nicholson’s personal physician, 16 May; and correspondence from William Austin, chaplain on the Constitution while commanded by Nicholson, to the secretary of the navy, Charlestown, 17 May. All declared the charge of intemperance against Samuel Nicholson to be entirely without foundation (all in DNA: RG 45, MLR). Joseph H. Nicholson enclosed them to the department heads between 29 and 31 May (Joseph H. Nicholson to Henry Dearborn, 29 May; Nicholson to Samuel Smith, 31 May, in same; Nicholson to Gallatin, 30 May, in 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 , 5:71).