Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Beckley, 22 January 1802

From John Beckley

Washington, 22d: January 1802.


Beleiving that the Office of Librarian to Congress, is not incompatible with my present Station, and that in some views it may be of public convenience, I beg leave, in this form, to repeat the intimation which my friend Judge Lincoln made to you on my behalf, of my being a Candidate for the appointment. It is hardly probable that any person qualified to discharge the duty, will look to the emolument of the Office, as a sole dependance, and in this view, under the present feelings of œconomy, and the scanty provision for my Clerkship of the House, this appointment may afford an additional means of support to my family.

With sincere respect, I am, Sir, Your obedt: hble Servt.

John Beckley

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Jan. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “to be librarian.”

“Reposing Special Trust and Confidence” in his “Diligence and Discretion,” TJ appointed Beckley librarian to Congress on 29 Jan. (FC of commission in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC).

scanty provision for my clerkship: as clerk of the House of Representatives, Beckley received an annual salary of $1,750, plus $2 per day while the House was in session. In April 1802, Congress passed an act fixing Beckley’s salary at $2,000 per year, with no per diem allowance (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Miscellaneous, 1:302; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States … 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 1:449; 2:58, 170–1).

Index Entries