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To James Madison from Thomas Jefferson, 22 December 1815

From Thomas Jefferson

Monticello Dec. 22. 15.

Dear Sir

Declining in every possible case to harrass you with sollicitations for office, I yet venture to do it in cases of science and of great merit, because in so doing I am sure I consult your partialities as well as my own. Mr. Hassler furnishes an occasion of doing this. You will find his character, his situation and claims stated in the inclosed letter from Rob. Patterson,1 whose integrity & qualifications to judge of Mr. Hassler’s merit cannot need any additional testimony from me, altho’ I conscientiously join my opinions & wishes to his.

The case of Dupont, the grandson I have warmly at heart.2 The father has merit for his establishments of gun powder & of broad-cloth. But no foreigner stands more prominently for us than the grandfather. He has been intimately known to me 30. years, and during that time I can testify that there has been no more zealous American out of America. From 1784. to 1789. while at the head of a bureau of commerce in France, I was under infinite obligations to him for patronising in every way in his power our commercial intercourse with France. I considered him as among the ablest and most honest men in France, & in the foremost rank of their science: but all this is so well known to yourself, as he is also personally, that my dwelling on it is merely to gratify my own affections.

I inclose a letter from Mr. Spafford who being personally known to you, and not to myself I forward it merely ut valeat quantum valere debet.3 God bless you and aid you in the numerous good things you have brought under the notice of the present legislature

Th: Jefferson

RC and enclosures (DLC); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). RC docketed by JM. For enclosures, see nn. 1 and 3.

1Jefferson enclosed a 2 Dec. 1815 letter to him from Robert Patterson, director of the U.S. Mint (2 pp.; docketed by Jefferson and printed in Looney et al., Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, 9:220–21), asking that the former president recommend Ferdinand Rudolf Hassler for a government position, enclosing a list of the scientific instruments Hassler had purchased in Europe for the planned U.S. coastal survey, and referring to the “imbarrasing” financial situation in which Hassler found himself owing to Congress’s failure to appropriate funds to pay him for that mission. A copy of the instrument list was also sent to Alexander J. Dallas; JM submitted it to Congress on 4 Apr. 1816 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Commerce and Navigation, 2:26–28).

3That it may be worth whatever it is worth. The enclosed letter to Jefferson from Horatio Gates Spafford, 18 Nov. 1815 (1 p.; docketed by Jefferson), requested that Jefferson recommend Spafford for the Albany postmastership. The appointment went to Solomon Southwick (see William Eaton to JM, 29 Nov. 1815, n. 1).

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