James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Samuel Hanson of Samuel, 19 March 1810 (Abstract)

§ From Samuel Hanson of Samuel1

19 March 1810. Addresses JM not to “deprecate the Sentence of Mr. Hamilton” in dismissing him from his position following a court of inquiry but to regain JM’s good opinion. Believes that the court of inquiry found some of the charges against him to be not only “unfounded” but also “vexatious & malicious”; complains that the secretary of the navy neglected to investigate the evidence. Lacks now the means of supporting a large family and must depend on JM’s patronage. “For the length and freedom of this address, your amiable Lady must be responsible—Since it is owing to her benevolent communication of your Good wishes for me that I have been tempted to take the liberty” of writing this letter.

RC (DLC). 12 pp. Docketed by JM.

1Samuel Hanson of Samuel (ca. 1752–1830), a native of Maryland and a member of the General Assembly of Maryland from 1781 to 1784, had moved in 1787 to Alexandria, Virginia, where he received an appointment as surveyor in 1789. He resigned that position in 1793 following a dispute with the collector, Charles Lee, and then served for the next eight years as cashier of the Bank of Columbia. During this period he also edited two Georgetown newspapers. Hanson was dismissed from his cashier’s position in 1801, at which time he received a “midnight appointment” as notary public for Washington from President John Adams. He subsequently solicited employment from JM and in 1804 finally received the position of purser at the Washington Navy Yard. In this post he complained of being “uniformly oppressed” by the accountant of the Navy Department, and Secretary Paul Hamilton dismissed him in 1810 after a court of inquiry had examined his accounts, a decision which Hanson then appealed to JM for the next year (Edward C. Papenfuse et al., eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789 [2 vols.; Baltimore, 1979–85], 1:409; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:11, 14, 388, 390; John Fitzgerald to Alexander Hamilton, July 1793 and 20 Nov. 1793, Syrett and Cooke, Papers of Hamilton, 15:155, 156 n. 3, 403 and n. 1; Hanson to JM, 9 May 1802, 6 Oct. 1803, and 16 Apr. 1811 [DLC]).

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