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From Thomas Jefferson to Hore Browse Trist, 4 March 1803

To Hore Browse Trist

Washington Mar. 4. 1803.

Dear Sir

Doctr. Carmichael, the Collector at Fort Adams, having absented himself from his post great part of a year, and never yet returned a single account, which calls for an immediate removal under a general rule, he is accordingly removed. this place is at present believed to be worth more than the Secretaryship of the territory, but from it’s singular position must in a very short time become the best office in the gift of the US. it has the benefit too of being permanent, whereas that of the Secretary is probably very shortlived, as it will cease whenever the territory advances to another grade of government, which under it’s late enlargement of boundary, & opening of a land office, will probably be almost immediately. it leaves a person too more at liberty as to the state of expences he may chuse to adopt. as it became absolutely necessary to decide between these two offices for you, without the opportunity of consulting you, we have undertaken to judge for you as we believe you would have done for yourself, had you been consulted.—Commission will accordingly be sent to you for the Collectorship of Fort Adams, and mr Cato West is appointed Secretary to the territory. there has been some thought of removing the residence of the Collector to Natchez, and appointing at Fort Adams a Surveyor only, but I do not know that it will be done. all the states on the Missisipi, the Tennissee, Ohio, & Wabash will be paying their tribute to this office, and doubling it at very short periods.   Mr. Gilmer was here lately and informed me your family was well. Dr. Bache I believe has sailed from Philadelphia for New Orleans, leaving mrs Bache behind. our late elections shew a wonderful growth of republicanism. 14. states are with us. we believe N. Hampshire will chuse a republican Govr. (Langdon) this month, and that Connecticut & Massachusets will have republican legislatures in one year more. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem & respect, and present my friendly salutations to Govr. Claiborne.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr. Trist”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso.

For John F. carmichael, see Vol. 38:255n; Vol. 39: Appendix I.

TJ had earlier suggested that Trist consider the secretaryship of the territory, with a salary of $750 (Vol. 36:389). judge for you: on 28 Feb., Gallatin wrote TJ noting that the president had to decide whether Trist was best suited for the position of secretary or collector. Trist’s commission as collector for the District of Mississippi, dated 7 Mch., was immediately transmitted to him. He also received a commission, dated 9 Mch., as inspector for the port at Fort Adams. Trist commenced his duties on 18 May (commissions in DNA: RG 36, New Orleans, LR; 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 , 8:735; Gallatin to TJ, 14 Mch.). For Trist’s appointment, see also Vol. 39: Appendix I.

mr. gilmer: probably Peachy R. Gilmer who married Trist’s cousin, Mary House, in September 1803. He was the son of TJ’s friend and physician, the late George Gilmer (Richard Beale Davis, Francis Walker Gilmer: Life and Learning in Jefferson’s Virginia [Richmond, 1939], 364).

John langdon did not win the governorship of New Hampshire until 1805, after three unsuccessful tries (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

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