Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Langdon, 1 October 1803

From John Langdon

Portsmouth 1st. Octob 1803


I am informed that the time for which the Marshal for the Destrict of Maine was chosen will soon expire, and that the probability is, he will not be reappointed; I would therefore beg leave to name, Major Joseph C. Boyd of Portland in sd. Destrict for that office. this gentleman is perfectly correct in his Politics, and in every way well qualified for the Business.

The Honbl. Mr. Cutts can give any further information relative to this Gentlemans Charecter that may be tho’t necessary.

I am very respectfully Sr. Your Obliged Hbl. Servt

John Langdon

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “Joseph C. Boyd to be Marshl. of Maine”; also endorsed by TJ: “Boyd Joseph C. to be Marshl. of Maine v.   .”

The marshal for maine was Isaac Parker, a Federalist, whose term of office was to expire in December 1803. Writing William Eustis on 10 Nov. 1803, Parker asked that his desire to be reappointed be made known to the president. “If, being a federalist,” Parker wrote, “but never a reviler of the present administration or its measures, I can be re-appointed to Office; I shall exercise it, as heretofore, with impartiality, & never to the prejudice of those who bestow it” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Parker Isaac. to Dr. Eustis”; Vol. 38:613n). TJ, however, had marked Parker for removal early in his administration, deeming him “a very violent & influential & industrious fed.” (Vol. 33:219).

TJ had appointed joseph c. boyd a bankruptcy commissioner for Maine in 1802, but he failed to qualify due to his absence from the country (Vol. 38:28; Vol. 39:154n, 612). Writing James Madison on 25 Aug. 1803, shortly after his return from France, Boyd explained his awkward position after learning that his commission was not valid and that John Mussey had been appointed in his place. Acting on Langdon’s advice, Boyd asked Madison to inform him of “the will of the President, and your Orders for my future government” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Boyd Joseph C. to mr Madison. for renewal of commn of bankruptcy”). Boyd was not reinstated as a bankruptcy commissioner, nor did he receive the marshal’s appointment despite additional recommendations in his favor. In a 20 Nov. letter to Madison, Boyd’s brother, John P. Boyd, touted his sibling’s qualifications for the Maine marshalcy and referred Madison to Congressman Richard Cutts for information as to his brother’s “capacity, integrity, attachment to the constitution and his zeal in favor of the present Administration” (same; endorsed by TJ: “Boyd Joseph C. to be Marshal of Maine. John P. Boyd to mr Madison”). On 26 Nov., U.S. Attorney George Blake of Massachusetts wrote Gideon Granger on behalf of Boyd, stating with confidence that he was a “worthy respectable man, & has been & is a uniform zealous Republican” (same; endorsed by TJ: “Boyd Joseph C. to be Marshal of Maine. Blake’s lre to Granger”).

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