James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Samuel A. Otis, 28 July 1802

From Samuel A. Otis

Boston July 28th 1802


I take this opportunity to acknowledge the honour of an official communication from the Secretary for the department of State,1 with a commission from the President of the United States; And altho the more obliged by this mark of his confidence as it was unsolicited & unexpected, permit me respectfully to state my doubts as to the propriety of holding this office, together with that of Secy of the Senate, without the permission of the Senate; And which cannot be obtained until they are in Session.

If holding both offices should be deemed incompatible, I hope it will hardly be necessary for me to apologize for my candid declaration of a preference, for an office, the duties of which, from long practice, have become familiar to me, to which, I feel myself fully competent, the salary too of which, is a principal article of, altho not adequate to my support, to one, of less emolument, precarious from liability to repeal & alterations in the law; An office whose duties are probably laborious, & in which I am without experience.

On the other hand should the honourable Body whose officer I am, from preference to a more meritorious person, or other cause, think fit to dismiss me their service, in the habits of business, necessary too for the subsistence of my family, I should regret being wholly out of employ. I hope therefore under all the circumstances, it will not be thot indelicate or disrespectful in me to ask permission, to consider of a reply, to your official communication until the Session commences; More especially as no injury can result to the public, there being a number of Commissioners already employed in the execution of the business. I have the honour to be With every sentiment of respect & esteem Your most obedient humble Servant

Sam A. Otis

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