Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Langdon, with Jefferson’s Note, 12 October 1803

From John Langdon, with Jefferson’s Note

Portsmouth Octobr 12h. 1803


I have this day received a letter from Mark L. Hill Esq of Georgetown Kennebec, a very respectable Gentleman, and another from, Samuel Davis Esq. of Bath, one of the first Merchants of that place, desireing me to Name to the President, Andrew Greenwood Esq. of Bath for Collector at that port, in the place of William Webb Esq who resigns. from the recommendation of Those Gentlemen, who I am personally aquainted and Connected with, and who may be depended on; Mr. Greenwood may be considerd as suitable a person for the Collectors Office as any in The Destrict. you’ll please accept my best wishes for your Happiness and beleive me with the highest respect,

Sr. your Oblig’d Hbl. Servt

John Langdon

Mr. Cutts has the letters mentioned

  [Note by TJ:]

Hill & Davis are connections of J.L. but both tories

Greenwood is a tory also.

Bath is entirely a tory place of rising importance.

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “President of the United States”; TJ’s notes written on verso below endorsement, probably after consulting with Dearborn (see below); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Oct. and “Greenwood Andrew to be Collectr. Bath v. Webb resd” and so recorded in SJL.

The letters of recommendation from Mark Langdon hill and samuel davis have not been found but were probably enclosed in TJ’s letter to Dearborn of 20 Oct. In 1803, Hill ran for the Massachusetts state senate as a “firm federalist,” but he later served in Congress as a Republican. In 1824, he was appointed collector at Bath. Both Davis and andrew greenwood, a prominent attorney in Bath, were Federalist leaders (Boston Gazette, 28 Mch. 1803; Portland Gazette and Maine Advertiser, 10 Mch. 1806; American Advocate, and Kennebec Advertiser, 3 Apr. 1819; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; William Willis, A History of the Law, the Courts, and the Lawyers of Maine, From Its First Colonization to the Early Part of the Present Century [Portland, Me., 1863], 318-23, 501).

in the place of william webb: on 30 Sep., the collector at Bath wrote the Treasury secretary of his decision to resign “on acct. of my health.” He proposed to remain in office until 31 Dec. “to close the business of the year if possible” (RC in DNA: RG 59, RD; endorsed by TJ: “Webb Wm. to mr Gallatin resigns as Collector of Bath”). Webb wrote Madison of his decision on 29 Sep. (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 5:475).

Congressman Richard cutts arrived in Washington and took his seat on 17 Oct., the opening day of Congress (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:401, 403).

On 17 Oct., David Trufant and others wrote James Madison from Bath, also recommending Greenwood for the collectorship. They noted that his “public education, moral character & standing in society” placed him “in the most favorable point of light” with those who knew him, including several gentlemen at the seat of government who were personally acquainted with him and could answer any queries the president “may be pleased to make on this subject” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; in Trufant’s hand, and signed by him and eight others; endorsed by TJ: “Greenwood Andrew. to be collector of Bath”).

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