Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Delaware Democratic Republicans, [on or after 24 March 1802]

From Delaware Democratic Republicans

[on or after 24 Mch. 1802]


In compliance with the wishes of our Republican Brethren of Kent County in the State of Delaware as enjoined on us by the preceeding Resolves—We Humbly submit to your consideration the following reasons upon the subject of said resolves.

Being decidedly of opinion that Allen Mc.Lane esquire deserves not to be continued Collector of the Port of Wilmington in the State of Delaware;—we have been in expectation of hearing of his removal, but being disappointed, we are induced to believe you are persuaded that the Republicans of Delaware wish his continuance in Office. To remove which impression is the object of this Address.

We presume not, Sir, to put our Judgment in competition with yours, and would not wish to dictate to the supreme executive of the united States the conduct he should persue. But we think it our duty to inform you, that we conceive the present and past conduct of Allen Mc.Lane Esquire highly improper and undeserving of confidence from a Republican President. Could we but bring ourselves to believe that a person who has been a uniform supporter of the past dangerous and extravagant Administration—who by the Violence of his Conduct has rendered himself extremely obnoxious to the republicans of Delaware—so much so—that they had rather see any other Federalist in the State enjoying that lucrative office than himself, ought not to be favored by a President whom he has invariably endeavored to villify and abuse, we might perhaps think he should be continued—(note “Christian Federalist”) especially if no Republican in the State could be found capable of filling that office. He has now been five years in the enjoyment of that office, and if he is not now to be removed, we presume, he is to Hold his office like the Judges during “good Behaviour.” We cannot think it right that such officers should be continued forever in office, and we Humbly conceive that offices of Profit should circulate among the People, especially in a Republican Government, as ours is.

There is nothing, Sir, we have so much at Heart as the Interest & welfare of the Republican cause. We could wish none but firm republican Friends to be the objects of Presidential favor. Persons who have weathered the storm of Federal Persecution, and have been invariably supporters of the Republican cause, should, we think, be promoted to Offices of profit, and be rewarded for their fidelity and attachment.—At the same time we would not wish to be understood to censure your attempt to conciliate. On the contrary we applaud it. But the Federalists have no idea of conciliation. They are evidently determined on the destruction of Republicanism, and notwithstanding the disposition you have evinced to conciliate by your permitting a large majority of them to remain in office, their abuse of your Administration has been equally as great as if you had displaced every man of them. Having enjoyed a complete monopoly of Offices under President Adams, nothing will satisfy them but the same monopoly under your Administration.

We believe not a single Federalist in this state has been removed from office;—and shall Federalists always Bask in the sunshine of Presidential favor? Shall nothing satisfy them but a perpetual enjoyment of every Office of Profit in the State? And shall no change of sentiment in the People, shall no change of Public Men, produce a change of measures, or operate to the advantage of the republicans. While Jefferson is President they certainly cannot be neglected.

Be assured, Sir, that we are perfectly disinterested in our present Address—not having any particular person in view to fill said Office. It only remains for us to express our most ardent wishes that your Administration may be prosperous and Happy. To these may the wise disposer of events be Pleased to add length of Days and every of Heavens choicest blessings.

Resolved. That said Address be signed by the Chairman and Secretary, and sent to David Hall Esquire Governor of this State, together with a Copy of the Proceedings—To be forwarded to the President of the United States.

Signed by Order of said Meeting.

Abraham Pierce Chairman.

J. Hamm. Secretary.

RC (DLC); in John Hamm’s hand, signed by Hamm and Pierce; resolutions and proceedings at 24 Mch. 1802 meeting attached above inside address; at head of text: “To Thomas Jefferson. President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 24 Mch. received 5 June and so recorded in SJL with notation “to remove Mc.lane.” Enclosed in David Hall to TJ, 31 May 1802.

In 1796, Abraham Pierce represented Kent County in the Delaware House of Representatives. Dr. John Hamm, who had studied medicine in Philadelphia with Benjamin Rush, moved to Ohio later in the decade, where he became prominent in state politics. In December 1813, Madison appointed him U.S. marshall of the Ohio district. In 1830, President Jackson appointed Hamm to a diplomatic post in Chile, where he concluded the first treaty between the U.S. and that country (Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, at a Session Commenced at Dover, on Tuesday, the Fifth Day of January, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six [Wilmington, Del., 1796], 5; Delaware History, 4 [1950], 71; Donald J. Ratcliffe, Party Spirit in a Frontier Republic: Democratic Politics in Ohio, 1793–1821 [Columbus, 1998], 156, 162; 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 , 2:445–6).

PRECEEDING RESOLVES: a “large and respectable” meeting of Democratic Republicans at the house of Daniel Cooke in Dover, Delaware passed three resolutions unanimously on 24 Mch. The first stated: “That it is the Opinion of this Meeting that Allen Mc.Lane Esquire should no longer be continued Collector of the Port of Wilmington in the State of Delaware”; the second: “That a Committee of Five be appointed to prepare and Draft an Address to the President of the United States on the subject of removing said Allen Mc.Lane esquire from Office”; and the third: “That Major Abraham Pierce, Risdon Bishop, John C. Brush, Doctr. Wm. McKee and Doctr. John Hamm be the afd. Committee” (resolutions written above inside address of letter printed above).

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