James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from John Adams, 31 January 1813

From John Adams

Quincy January 31st. 1813

Dear Sir

I have subscribed with Mr Gray1 and others a recommendation of Hendrick W Gordon Esquire2 a copy of which is enclosed. As he requests a seperate Certificate, I enclose his letter and can sincerely say that from an acquaintance with him, of several years, I believe that what is said of him, in the Certificate, and in his letter, to be no more than he deserves; He is a civil, well bred man, capable industrious, and faithful in business, I have the honour to be very respectfully Sir your most obedient Servant

John Adams

Letterbook copy (MHi: Adams Papers).

1William Gray (1750–1825), a prominent shipowner and merchant in Salem, Massachusetts, had been a member of the Salem militia during the Revolutionary War. In 1792 he became the first president of the Essex Bank. Serving in numerous civic capacities throughout his life, Gray was a state senator in 1807, 1808, and 1821, a lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1810–11, a nominee for governor in 1816, and president of the Massachusetts electoral college in 1824. Unlike many of his fellow New England merchants, Gray supported the Embargo Act of 1807, subsequently realigning himself with the Republicans, moving to Boston, and thereafter upholding government measures during the War of 1812 (Edward Gray, William Gray of Salem, Merchant: A Biographical Sketch [Boston, 1914], 12, 39, 41, 82–83).

2Gordon had been appointed a prize agent by Capt. Samuel Evans, commander of the Chesapeake, and he wrote to JM on 23 Feb. 1813, “a Valuable prize to that Ship, having arrived safe at Portsmouth NHampshire,” to request “the agency of the part which accrues to the Goverment by law.” On 17 Jan. 1814 JM nominated Gordon for the office of collector of direct taxes and internal duties for the Tenth District of Massachusetts, but the nomination was rejected by the Senate. On 8 Mar. 1815 Gordon requested from JM a consular appointment in a European port, which he did not receive. He wrote to JM on 4 July 1815 that if he was not appointed consul to a European port, he would accept “the same office” at any port or place JM would send him. When he did not receive a consulate, Gordon wrote to Monroe on 9 Dec. 1815 requesting any other situation for which he was qualified. On 17 Sept. 1816 he wrote to JM seeking to fill the vacancy in the consulate at Palermo (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Gordon”; 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 , 2:455, 468).

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