Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Isaac Dayton, 19 October 1802

From Isaac Dayton

Hudson Octr. 19th. 1802


Having understood that a representation has been or is about, to be forwarded to your Excellency upon the subject of removing the Collector & Surveyor of this port, I take the liberty to remind you of the recommendations now in your hands in my favour. Having been honourd with the appointment of Collector of the internal revenue on the dismission of mr. Ten Broeck from that office for delinquency, & haveing exersised that Office but a few months, I hope it will not be deemed, presumptuous in me, to sollicet the Office of Collector, in case that office be vacated; should only the office of surveyor be vacated, I then ask for that appointment.

I considered it superfluous to trouble your Excellency with any further recommendations.

With the highest respect & esteem for Your Character I am Your Excellency’s Obedt. Servt.

Isaac Dayton

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esquire”; endorsed by TJ as received 24 Oct. and “to be Collector & Surveyor of Hudson vice” and so recorded in SJL.

Isaac Dayton (ca. 1753–1825) resided in Hudson, New York. A native of Rhode Island, he had family connections to Elisha and Thomas Jenkins. In 1810, Dayton was the master of a merchant brig (Hudson Northern Whig, 4 Apr. 1809; New York Columbian, 12 June 1810; Providence Rhode-Island American, 22 Mch. 1825).

REPRESENTATION: Thomas Jenkins, Ambrose Spencer, and Alexander Coffin to TJ, 16 Oct.

For the RECOMMENDATIONS that Dayton took to Washington a few months earlier, see Thomas Jenkins to TJ, 7 July.

In March 1803, TJ removed John C. TEN BROECK as surveyor and inspector of customs at Hudson and appointed Dayton in his place. Dayton had previously succeeded Ten Broeck as collector of internal revenue. Federalists declared that the only reason for Ten Broeck’s dismissal from the customs position was politics, the replacement of a Federalist with a Republican. The Hudson Balance called Dayton “the most contemptible of beings” and declared that “no man could be more unfit or undeserving, the office of surveyor and inspector.” The Bee countered by saying that Ten Broeck had deficiencies in his accounts and lost the job “by his own conduct.” Dayton, the Republican paper declared, “paid every farthing of his dues” when his internal revenue collectorship ended. In his record of appointments, TJ classified Ten Broeck’s removal among those necessary “for Misconduct or delinquency,” and next to Ten Broeck’s name he noted “delinqt of old.” The Senate approved Dayton’s appointment as customs surveyor and inspector of the port on 3 Mch. 1803 (Hudson Balance, and Columbian Repository, 22 Mch. 1803; Hudson Bee, 29 Mch. 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 , 1:447; Vol. 33:673; Thomas Jenkins to TJ, 7 July 1802; TJ to the Senate, 1 Mch. 1803).

SHOULD ONLY THE OFFICE OF SURVEYOR BE VACATED: on 12 Nov., Dayton wrote to Samuel Osgood to explain that a prior arrangement, under which Shubael Worth would be recommended for the customs collectorship and Dayton would be recommended for the surveyor’s position, had been altered. Worth had “agreed cheerfully to accept the surveyors office, if the President thought fit to grant me the collectors office,” Dayton wrote. He stated also that he and Worth had agreed on the change before Dayton visited Washington earlier in the year. Dayton asked Osgood to recommend him now for the collector’s position. At the foot of Dayton’s letter, Ambrose Spencer added a note to Osgood, also dated 12 Nov., stating that he was present at the conversation in which Worth said that he would “confine his pretensions & application” to the surveyorship. Osgood, who had already written TJ on Dayton’s behalf, did not write again, but passed along Dayton’s letter with Spencer’s note, which came into TJ’s hands (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Dayton Isaac to Saml Osgood to be Collector” and “Worth Shubael to be Surveyor,” with the latter endorsement canceled; Thomas Jenkins to TJ, 7 July).

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