Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Madison, 8 December 1801

From James Madison

Department of State 8 Decr. 1801


I have the honor to transmit herewith two copies of the second census (except for the State of Tennessee, which is not yet received) and to notice the following deviations from the law under which it was taken, affecting the uniformity of some of the returns.

The return for the counties of Dutchess, Ulster & Orange in the District of New York was not recd. at this office until the 21st. of Septr. last.

The return for a portion of Baltimore County in the District of Maryland was not recd. until the 19th. ult.

The return for the western District of Virginia was not recd. in its present form until the 20th. of Octr. last.

The Marshal for the District of South Carolina did not take the Oath prescribed by law until three days after the date of his return.

In the return for the Indiana Territory, the population of some of its settlements is grouped together instead of being divided into classes.

It is proper that I should add, that I have no reason to suppose that the above irregularities have happened from culpable neglect in the Marshals themselves.

I have added to these copies an aggregate Schedule of the returns from each District and Territory.

With perfect respect I remain Your most Obedient servant

James Madison

RC (DNA: RG 46, LPPM, 7th Cong., 1st sess.), in a clerk’s hand, complimentary close and signature in Madison’s hand; printed with Enclosure No. 1 as the No. 3 set of documents in Message and Communication from the President of the United States to the Senate and House of Representatives (Washington, D.C., [1801]). Enclosures: (1) “Enumeration of persons in the Several Districts of the United States,” a table showing the number of free white males, free white females, slaves, and “all other free persons except Indians not taxed” in each of 12 census categories in each district, for a total of 5,172,312 people, 875,626 of whom were slaves; omitting Tennessee but including additional returns from Baltimore County, Maryland, and a portion of New York State (MS in DNA: RG 46, LPPM; undated; in a clerk’s hand; endorsed by a Senate clerk). (2) Census returns for New Hampshire, Massachusetts, the District of Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersery, the eastern and western districts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the eastern and western districts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Northwest Territory, Indiana Territory, Mississippi Territory (MSS in DNA: RG 46, LPPM; in various hands). All printed in Return of the Whole Number of Persons within the Several Districts of the United States (Washington, D.C., 1801; see Shaw-Shoemaker description begins Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–63, 22 vols. description ends , No. 1559).

For the census, see TJ’s Calculation of Population Increase, Vol. 35:532n.

Return for a portion of Baltimore County: in an undated petition to TJ, census enumerator Thomas Bailey of Baltimore County explained why he failed to submit returns for his division of the Maryland census in the time allotted by law. In July 1800, he applied to the U.S. marshal for Maryland, Jacob Graybell, for an appointment as a census assistant. Graybell died before making the appointment, however, and another four weeks elapsed before the new marshal, David Hopkins, succeeded to the office. The delay caused Bailey to begin his enumeration late in the year, when the days were shorter and the roads “almost impassable.” His efforts to complete his assignment “caused the Death of a valuable Horse,” while “fatigue and exposure to wet and cold” brought on a “fit of Sickness” that confined Bailey to his house for two months. These circumstances, the complicated instructions regarding the completion of returns, and “difficulties unforeseen and almost innumerable” all conspired to prevent Bailey from submitting his returns on time. As a result, the U.S. district court for Maryland, during its November 1801 term, indicted Bailey for failing to make a timely return. Before the indictment, however, Bailey stated that he had submitted a “full and complete” return to the new marshal, Reuben Etting, and requested that TJ grant a nolle prosequi to stay all further proceedings against him (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; at head of text: “To his Excellency Thomas Jefferson President of The United States of America”).

Andrew Moore, marshal of the western district of Virginia, submitted a return to Madison on 13 Oct. 1801 (MS in DNA: RG 46, LPPM, 7th Cong., 1st sess.; in a clerk’s hand; endorsed by a Senate clerk).

Marshal for the district of South Carolina: Charles B. Cochran submitted a return for his state on 24 July 1801 (“Schedule of the whole number of Persons in the District of South Carolina,” printed in Return of the Whole Number of Persons).

In his return for the Indiana territory of 4 July 1801, Secretary John Gibson grouped together enumerations totaling 766 people for settlements at “Machilamakanac,” boatmen from Canada, Prairie du Chien on the Mississippi, Green Bay on Lake Michigan, and Opee on the Illinois River (“Schedule of the whole number of Persons in the Territory of Indiana,” printed in Return of the Whole Number of Persons).

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