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To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 17 August 1802

From Albert Gallatin

Tr. Dept. Augt. 17th 1802

Dear Sir

I enclose herewith the following papers


Recommendation for Commisrs. of Bankruptcy at Poukepsie in support of those formerly made by Bailey & Van Cortland

Certificate of Mr Nourse showing that Mr Hopkins has charged for two clerks according to law. Whether he has employed only one, your informant should substantiate if it be true.

Letters relative to the incapacity of Claud Thomson collector of Brunswick Georgia. As the most speedy way of obtaining a recommendation I have written to P. Butler who is now at Philada., & having a large estate in that vicinity, is better acquaintted than Jackson, who besides that, would not answer under several weeks.

Copies of letters on subject of improper & unauthorized advances made by our Consuls, a subject which deserves consideration & immediate remedy.

Sundry letters from Portsmouth recommending for the office of surveyor, & for those of Master & mate of the revenue cutter. To the last there is, nor can be any objection. For the office of surveyor, Geo. Wentworth is recommended by John Langdon & Joseph Whipple, and Samuel Penhallow junr. by Mr Gardiner & sundry other republicans. I called on Gen. Dearborn for his opinion: he is in favor of Wentworth, an old & very deserving character, already employed in a subordinate office in the customs & very poor: he says, however, that Penhallow, who is a young lawyer & also a republican, would probably be the most active officer. If you shall prefer Wentworth, I can write to Mr Gardiner, that the recommendation in his favor had been received previous to the other’s; which is true.

Recommendation in fav. of—Woods for register land office vice Foster, by Meigs the only republican of note at Marietta.

The weekly return of Warrants paid last week


The letter to Erving for books, for use of Congress is gone: no bill on Paris having been obtained that for Mr Short had been detained, & you have doubtless heard of his arrival here. To whom is the money to be sent? If Duane has not written to his correspondent in France, it might do to send the 1000 dollars destined for that place, to Mr Erving, as I apprehend your London catalogue alone will amount to 2000 dollars.—No letters from Mr Short of the dates you mention can be found at present in the office. I suspect that Mr Jones the principal clerk who is absent on account of his health, & who had the extracts transcribed which you requested, has not returned them to the proper file; we have ransacked every corner in vain.

You have heard that Mr Page absolutely refuses the office of collector at Petersburgh. He has written two decisive letters to Mr Tucker, one received this day. This is unfortunate, and it is necessary that some immediate decision should take place. A nearly unanimous petition in favor of Tyng may be expected from Newbury port; the nonappointment of a resident has made the removal extremely unpopular; but Lee’s appointment works better than had been apprehended by Crowningshield. Hiller on the 6th Augt. saw the appointment announced in the National intelligencer of the 30th July, & on the same day sent his resignation which is also enclosed.

This makes up the whole of what I have to communicate: last night I wrote in relation to the Barbary business which is of more importance than all the rest. This city continues healthy and the weather is much more moderate than it was last year.

With sincere respect & esteem I remain your obedt. and affectionate Servt.

Albert Gallatin

Have you heard that Sumpter & Mr Livingston have disagreed, and that the first is on his return? T. Coxe writes that from the most undoubted authority he knows that France will take possession of Louisiana as soon as her West Indies business is arranged.

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States at Monticello Milton Virginia”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 19 Aug. and “miscellans. affairs” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Smith Thompson, Brockholst Livingston, and Edward Livingston to James Madison and Albert Gallatin, Poughkeepsie, 4 Aug. 1802, requesting that the president appoint bankruptcy commissioners at Poughkeepsie, being midway between New York City and Albany, where commissioners have already been appointed, but the two cities are 160 miles apart and too far away to accommodate the flourishing towns along the Hudson River, particularly in Dutchess County; recommending Aaron Stockholm, “formerly a merchant and now one of our most respectable Farmers,” Samuel Hawkins, and James Tallmadge, Jr., lawyers, as candidates, all being competent, with a reputable standing in the community, and noted for their republican principles (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 10:0627–9, in an unidentified hand, signed by all, endorsed by Gallatin: “Recommendation for Comrs. of Bankruptcy at Poukeepsie—Note Hawkins & Tallmadge had been recommended by Bailey & Van Cortland,” endorsed by TJ: “Thompson & Livingston to Mr. Gallatin } Commrs. bkrptcy at Poughkeepsie”; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:454). (2) Certificate by Joseph Nourse, Register’s Office, Treasury Department, 11 Aug. 1802, listing Thomas Taylor and William Dandridge as the two clerks employed during 1801 and the first two quarters of 1802 by John Hopkins, commissioner of loans for Virginia, each at the rate of $500 per year (MS in MoSHi: Jefferson Papers; in a clerk’s hand, signed and dated by Nourse; endorsed by TJ: “Hopkins’s case. Nourse’s certificate”). (3) Gallatin to Madison, 16 Aug. 1802, questioning the legality of the expenditures incurred by U.S. consuls for the relief of seamen after 1799, when the laws of 1798 and 1799, authorizing reimbursements for “reasonable expenditures,” expired and the permanent law of 14 Apr. 1792, limiting the allowance for distressed seamen to 12 cents per day again went into effect; a number of bills drawn by the consuls and commercial agents on the State Department should not have been paid and the balances they claim “cannot be admitted”; noting that the expenditures of William Lee at Bordeaux were much larger than could be expected or allowed “under any possible circumstances”; and enclosing Richard Harrison to Gallatin, 11 Aug., requesting the “sentiments” of the secretary of state on reimbursements for the relief of seamen before the consular accounts were settled and annexing a list of the accounts of the U.S. consuls and agents received at the auditor’s office from the State Department (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:489–90; Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 7:450–1). (4) John Langdon to Gallatin, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 4 Aug. 1802, reporting the death of Samuel Adams, surveyor of customs at the port, and recommending George Wentworth, now employed at the custom house, as a person proper and well qualified for the position (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR). (5) Langdon to Gallatin, Portsmouth, 6 Aug. 1802, recommending Hopley Yeaton as a proper person to take command of the revenue cutter being built at Portsmouth, describing him as a good officer, honest, “and always a good Republican,” who, as the vigilant commander of the first revenue cutter, “was most shamefully dismissed, by the late President, at the same time that Joseph Whipple and William Gardner were, and for the same reason” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Langdon John to mr Gallatin } Yeaton Hopley. command revenue cutter”). (6) Joseph Whipple, Collector’s Office, Portsmouth, 4 Aug. 1802, informing the Treasury secretary of the death of Adams and recommending Wentworth, an employee at the custom house noted for attention and fidelty to his work and “attachment to the government”; also recommending Hopley Yeaton as master and Benjamin Gunnison as first mate of the revenue cutter, “which will be ready for Service in 6 or 7 weeks,” both of whom were faithful, active officers on the previous cutter (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Whipple to mr Gallatin } Wentworth George to be Survey or of district of Portsmouth vice Adams dead Yeaton Hopley to be Master Gunnison Benjamin 1st. mate } revenue cutter”). (7) William Gardner to Gallatin, Portsmouth, 6 Aug. 1802, noting the death of Adams and recommending Samuel Penhallow, Jr., as surveyor, a gentleman who is well known to him as being “very capable—of strict integrity and a firm Republican”; and enclosing a petition in Penhallow’s favor, dated 6 Aug., signed by Gardner and at least 15 others, including John Pickering, district judge (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Gardner Wm. to Mr Gallatin } Penhallow Saml. to be Surveyor of Portsmoth vice Adams. dead”). Other enclosures not found.

For the recommendation FORMERLY MADE by New York congressmen Theodorus Bailey and Philip Van Cortlandt, see their letter to TJ of 3 May 1802.

YOUR INFORMANT: see Thomas Underwood, Jr., to TJ, 25 July.

John Adams appointed CLAUD THOMSON collector at Brunswick, Georgia, in December 1800. Gallatin wrote Pierce BUTLER on 12 Aug. that Thomson was “from intemperance, so far impaired in his understanding, as not to be capable of fulfilling his official duties.” Requesting recommendations for a replacement, Gallatin called for a person who was not connected with trade and would accept the office, which offered a permanent salary of $200 and inconsiderable fees and commissions (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 47:575; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States . . . to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:357). Butler had previously advised the Treasury secretary. On 7 May, he wrote Gallatin from Georgia urging him not to remove Randolph McGillis, the collector at Saint Mary’s. He described the collector, appointed by Adams in January 1800, as “of fair Character” and generally esteemed. Butler observed that it would not be easy to supply his place (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Butler Pierce to mr Gallatin. Mc.Gilles collector of St. Mary’s not to be removed”; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States . . . to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:332–3).

ADVANCES MADE BY OUR CONSULS: in April 1802, Robert R. Livingston informed Madison that action was necessary to provide relief from the expenses incurred by U.S. officials charged with the care of U.S. seamen. He thought ship owners and captains should be held responsible for the crews they brought to foreign ports. William Lee described the distressing situation of American seamen at Bordeaux under his charge. In early 1802, he provided provisions and arranged passages back to the United States for more than 150 stranded seamen (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 2:414, 479; 3:157–8, 416–17).

MASTER & MATE OF THE REVENUE CUTTER: Hopley Yeaton and Benjamin Gunnison were recommended for the new cutter being built at Portsmouth, New Hampshire (see Enclosures No. 5 and 6, above). In August 1801, Yeaton had petitioned to be restored as captain of the Portsmouth cutter (Vol. 35:654–5). For the 1801 consideration of George WENTWORTH as naval officer at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, see Vol. 33:219. TJ recorded Wentworth’s appointment as inspector and surveyor of the revenue at the port on 25 Aug. 1802 (Appendix I).

The recommendation of Joseph Wood (WOODS) by Return Jonathan MEIGS, Jr., has not been found, but on 3 Aug., Griffin Greene wrote Gideon Granger that Meigs had written the Treasury secretary on that day in Wood’s behalf. Greene added his own recommendation, noting that Wood was of good character, “a Man of industry, & method” and a sound Republican whose appointment would please other Republicans at Marietta (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 7:409).

TJ’s letters to George W. ERVING, William SHORT, William DUANE, and Gallatin on book orders for the Library of Congress are printed at 16 July. LONDON CATALOGUE: Enclosure No. 2, at TJ to Duane, 16 July.

TJ had REQUESTED transcriptions of 1794 letters from William Short to Secretary of State Edmund Randolph (see TJ to Gallatin, 3 Aug.).

PETITION IN FAVOR OF TYNG: see Newburyport, Massachusetts, Citizens to TJ, 6 Aug.

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