Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorandum to Albert Gallatin, 28 October 1802

Memorandum to Albert Gallatin

Candidates for the office of Surveyor of Smithfield

Doctr. Purdie. his father I know. he is a good man. but they are tories.
Wilson Davies. he was collector of the direct tax, which is sufficient evidence he is a tory. he is recommended too by John Parker appd by our predecessors, ergo a tory.
Dr. Southall. his father was an excellent man & whig. his brother is said to be a very bad man. of himself I know nothing. Colo. Davies’s favor makes his politics suspicious.
Cuningham. recommendd by T. Newton junr. but not on his own knolege. a republican of 75. he does not live at the place & would be to remove.
John Easson. strongly recommended by Colo. Newton the father, from an intimate knolege of him, as a very honest man, republican, & living on the spot. he was not long since a member of the Senate of Virginia, chosen by a district of several counties, which is good testimony of respectability, and a shield for us in his appointment.

It appears to me that Easson is the preferable candidate. if you think so let the commission issue. such a paper as this you would not of course let go into the office bundles, but burn or otherwise dispose of as a private communication, & confidential.


RC (NHi: Gallatin Papers); addressed: “Albert Gallatin Secretary of the Treasury”; endorsed. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL with notation “nominns.”

Wilson Davis (DAVIES) served as an auxiliary officer for the collection of the Direct Tax in Isle of Wight County. He was evidently recommended by JOHN PARKER, a port inspector under the collector’s office at Norfolk. John Adams appointed Federalist Copland Parker, a surveyor at Smithfield, as surveyor and inspector of the revenue at Norfolk in December 1799 (Letter From the Secretary of the Treasury, Transmitting Two Statements, Relating to the Internal Revenues of the United States [Washington, D.C., 1803], Table A, 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. 5341; 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, 1:274; 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 , 1:125–6, 330–1; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 11:393; Prince, Federalists description begins Carl E. Prince, The Federalists and the Origins of the U.S. Civil Service, New York, 1977 description ends , 109–10, 114).

Dr. James Barrett SOUTHALL had recently settled in Isle of Wight County near Smithfield. HIS FATHER WAS AN EXCELLENT MAN: Turner Southall represented Henrico County in the Virginia General Assembly in 1778, at the same time TJ represented Albemarle County. Southall served in the assembly continuously from 1780 to 1790, first in the House of Delegates and by 1785 in the Senate (VMHB description begins Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 1893– description ends , 45 [1937], 283–7; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 129–30, 138, 142, 146, 150, 154, 158, 162, 166, 170, 177, 181).

On this day, Gallatin wrote TJ inquiring, “Is the name of the gentleman recommended for the Surveyor’s office at Smithfield, Lasson, or Easson?” Gallatin also noted: “I enclose a recommendation” (RC in DLC; partially dated; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 28 Oct. and “Easson. Eddins” and so recorded in SJL). The enclosure has not been found, but TJ’s endorsement indicates it was probably a recommendation for Samuel Eddins (see TJ to Gallatin, 3 Aug.).

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