From Thomas Underwood, Jr.
Richmond 25th. July 1802
I hold it to be a duty which every real friend to society owes his Country to give information of, and expose to publick view the misconduct of all and every officer under the government who will not pay due attention to its interest. You will therefore pardon me when I tell you that the Loan officer of Virginia Mr. John Hopkins, is authorised by Law to keep two Clerks; it is found by Mr. Hopkins that one is sufficient to transact all the business in that department and he (Mr. Hopkins) without adhereing to the interest of his Country suffers one Clerk who transacts the whole business to receive the Salary allowed by Law for two; and altho saving of one salary to the publick is but a small consideration yet the Salutory scheme of oeconomy so valuable to our repubican Goverment can not be carried into full effect unless things of this kind be noticed. With a wish to be serviceable to my County,
I am Sir. Yr. Mo. Ob.
Thomas Underwood Jr.
RC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); endorsed by TJ as received 31 July and so recorded in SJL.
Thomas Underwood had been a lieutenant in the corps of artillerists and engineers from 1795 to 1799 before becoming a lieutenant of the public guard for the Richmond arsenal. In 1804, he secured an appointment as a superintendent of the public tobacco warehouse in Richmond (Heitman, Dictionary description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:978; CVSP description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers . . . Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 8:484; 9:298, 381).
JOHN HOPKINS, a prominent Richmond businessman and a Federalist, had served a long tenure as commissioner of loans for Virginia (David Hackett Fischer, The Revolution of American Conservatism: The Federalist Party in the Era of Jeffersonian Democracy [New York, 1965], 375; 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 , 1:57; Vol. 32:374). TJ relayed Underwood’s report to Albert Gallatin in a letter of 3 Aug. On 17 Aug., Gallatin enclosed a note from Joseph Nourse, dated 11 Aug., that listed the names of the two clerks that Hopkins reported employing. Hopkins remained commissioner until 1804, when he was replaced by Meriwether Jones (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 , 1:464–5).