From Anthony Campbell
No. 297 Arch Street Philadelphia October 12, 1801
I am sorry a combination of circumstances, which I neither could foresee nor expect compels me to address you; but I feel convinced, when you are informed, that necessity and self defence urge the measure, you will excuse the liberty. Had my communications to Mr Gallatin upon an interesting subject, been treated with that politeness and attention, which from his character, I had a right to expect, I most certainly would not have troubled you.
It is painful for me to relate after upwards of sixteen months disappointments and difficulties, that the exposition of the defalcations and peculations which took place under the former administration originated with me. As a clerk in the office of the Auditor of the Treasury of the United States; on a review of the different accounts presented for adjustment, but particularly those of a Messrs. Pickering and Dayton, I felt that indignation which I suppose every honest man does, on becomeing acquainted with a breach of trust, either public or private.—not bound by oath of office, or any other moral obligation to secresy, I did consider it an imperious duty to make the people of the United States acquainted with the fraudulent conduct of their agents. Accordingly early in the month of June 1800, I called on Mr Isreal Isreal, and informed him that I was in possession of information, which I intended to publish, and I trusted the publication would be the happy means of turning the current of public opinion, against a party whose measures were in open hostility, against republicanism, and whose removal from power was my most ardent wish. I then handed him six copies of the accounts of Mr Pickering, in whose hands at that time, an unaccounted1 balance of upwards of half a million of dollars remained, and one copy of the account of Mr Dayton, as agent for paying the compensation due to members of the house of representatives, upon which, at that time, a large unaccounted balance remained in his hands from different sessions of Congress. I requested the editor of the Aurora might be sent for; consequently, that afternoon, an interview took place, when the aforesaid seven copies of the Auditor’s reports on the accounts of Messrs. Pickering and Dayton, were put in the hands of Mr Duane, for the purpose of publication. Soon after this part of the transaction, in consequence of the removal of government to Washington, all the clerks, another and myself excepted, were sent to that place. At that time of almost general suspension of public bussiness, I had more leisure than usual, which I employed taking cursory reviews of the accounts of individuals in public service, and found that delinquints were numerous, and consisted of influential characters in the departments of finance.
Some doubts remaining on the mind of Mr Isreal, as to the authenticity of the reports, on the accounts of Pickering and Dayton, and being apprehensive, that Mr Duane, might be led into error by publishing them, in order to do away every doubt, and to be able by respectable testimony to refute all attempts that might be made to invalidate the intended publications, I did voluntarily, and without the previous knowledge of any person whatever, convey the Book containing these accounts to Mr Isreal’s house, where in the presence of John Beckly, Isreal Isreal, Saml. Isreal, auctioneer, William Duane, and myself, the former copies were compared, and others equally as important were taken off, part of which were afterwards published in the Aurora.—
Previous to the publications appearing, hints and queries were inserted in the Aurora, relative to public defaulters; which alarmed those of the party acquainted with the nefarious measures pursued, and as the accounts had lately been transmitted from the auditor’s office, I miraculously being the only Jacobin acquainted with any part of them, was immediately suspected. Two confidential persons belonging to the Departments of State & Treasury, waited on me, and offered bribes for supressing the publication of the Accounts of Mr Pickering, which I did not accept. I was soon after dismissed from the office!
During the agitation and discussions produced by those publications in the Aurora, American Citizen &c &c, and the fortunate change that consequently took place in the public mind, some claimed the merit, while I remained silent, and was sacrificed. But, Sir, I solemnly assure you no other person had any share in exposeing those delinquincies, but myself, except some assistance afforded me by William P. Gardner, an honest man, and a genuine republican, then a Clerk in the Auditor’s office. For the truth of this assertion, I refer to Mr Gallatin, having sent him certificates to substantiate that fact, and to prove the rectitude of my moral character, some time ago.
It is not the neglect I have experienced, nor the sacrifices I have made that grieve me, but an unworthy attempt to cast an odium on my moral character. Whence has this arisen? Surely no republican will say that exposeing, the delinquincies of Federalist is a breach of moral duty. I was bound to no secresy,—I took no oath on admission as a Clerk into the auditor’s office but simply to support the constitution of the United States. If the obtainment of wealth had been my governing principle, I might to day be in easy circumstances. Had I concealed the delinquincies of those who made an improper use of the public money, I most certainly would have considered it a crime against the state.
The cruelty of the Federalists, the neglect and injustice of the Republicans, and the state of my finances, almost overwhelm me. When it was in my power to obtain a handsome competency by a direliction of principle, I spurned the ignominious bribe; I would spurn it again; Yet where is my reward? Am I to be despised by one party,—and neglected by the other,—to whom I have rendered the most important services. To whom shall I look for the reward of principle; most certainly, Sir, it is to you. I pray pardon my freedom. I feel the injustice I have received, and to whom, in a political view, can I with equal propriety apply as to Mr. Jefferson.
With sentiments of the greatest respect, Sir, I have the honor to be from principle Your most Obedient Servant
RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “T.”
Forced to leave his native Ireland, Anthony Campbell renewed several acquaintances when he emigrated to the United States and took up residence in Philadelphia. Dr. James Reynolds, local leader of the United Irishmen, and the geographer Joseph Scott both knew his family and him since birth. Campbell probably became a clerk in the auditor’s office at the Treasury Department in early 1799. He and fellow clerk William P. Gardner delivered copies of Treasury Department records relating to the accounts of Timothy Pickering, Jonathan Dayton, and others to William Duane, who published them in the Aurora, with comments, between 17 June and 15 July 1800. Duane charged that the delinquent accounts indicated that public funds were used for “Private Speculations.” According to the auditor, Campbell was officially dismissed as a clerk because he did not move with the department to Washington in the summer of 1800. On 25 Mch. 1802, Dearborn recommended Campbell for a military appointment as ensign in the First Regiment of Infantry. He was promoted to second lieutenant in April 1803 (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 , 1:415, 457; Philadelphia Aurora, 17–18, 20–1, 23 June, 3 July 1800; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:458, 530n; 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 , 5:708; 6:937; Gallatin to TJ, 14 Sep. 1801; Campbell to TJ, 26 Feb. 1802). For another view of the delivery of the Treasury Department accounts to Duane for publication, see Gardner to TJ, 20 Nov.
Communications to Mr Gallatin: Campbell’s earliest letter to Gallatin, of 26 May 1801, has not been found. On 4 June, he wrote a short letter to the Treasury secretary from New York, which was carried to Washington by William Few, Gallatin’s brother-in-law. Campbell observed that Congressman William Jones, Joseph Clay, and Joseph Scott would provide character references for him, in addition to those already supplied (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 , 5:93). Campbell wrote Gallatin from Philadelphia on 14 July, after “having learned that reports were in circulation at Washington, injurious” to his moral character. Describing himself as a “republican and United Irishman,” Campbell defended his role in the publication of the Treasury Department accounts, arguing that he considered it “criminal to conceal, and a duty to publish all accurate information that would promote the cause of republicanism, and destroy the influence of the desperate aristocractic faction.” Campbell described William P. Gardner as “equally concerned with myself in the aurora Publications” and noted that Doyle Sweeny was the only other Treasury Department clerk who had the courage to defend republican principles (same, 5:374–5).
In a letter to Gallatin dated 20 Sep., Campbell referred to two certificates he had recently sent the Treasury secretary. Because Gallatin had not replied to his letters, Campbell feared they had been intercepted by one of his “rancorous enemies in the different departments.” Campbell had sent the documents after learning that Gallatin had expressed “unfavorable sentiments” respecting his moral conduct and he argued: “I felt it a duty due to myself to have the false impressions removed from your mind, as well as to refute the Slanders of my enemies, so far as the testimony of many respectable Citizens could have any influence” (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 , 5:768). Israel Israel, James Reynolds, John Beckley, Joseph Scott, William Priestman, James Kerr, and one other Philadelphian signed an affidavit dated 7 Aug., recommending Campbell as always “regular, sober and orderly,” with a character that in every respect stood “fair and irreproachable.” He was not “guilty of gaming, drinking or Swearing,” as was common “to young men in large cities.” The signers of the affidavits observed: “his politicks and principles are republican, and we believe that in consequence of them he has been persecuted.” Below the signatures, seven others, including John Smith, Michael Leib, William Jones, Mahlon Dickerson, John Shee, and Mathew Carey, wrote and signed short testimonials agreeing with the affidavit (Tr in NHi: Gallatin Papers, certified and signed by Joseph Scott and William Priestman as a “true copy of the original which we have carefully examined,” at foot of text: “Original transmitted to Mr Gallatin Secretary of the Treasury on the 3rd. September 1801”; see 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 , 5:518). On 10 Aug., Beckley, Israel Israel, and Samuel Israel signed an affidavit testifying that Campbell was the person who voluntarily made known to them and to William Duane the delinquencies of Pickering, Dayton, and others, whose accounts were published in the Aurora. They concluded: “we believe that Mr Campbell in making this communication to us was actuated by a pure regard to the public good, and thereby rendered an essential service to the United States” (Tr in same, certified and signed by Scott and Priestman, at foot of text: “Original transmitted to Albert Gallatin Secretary of the treasury on the 3rd of September 1801”; see 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 , 5:527). On 12 Oct., Campbell wrote Gallatin: “As you have not returned my certificates, and having this day written to the President of the United States, in which I referred to them in your possession, I have to request you will be so good as to shew them to him” (same, 5:846).
1. MS: “uaccounted.”