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To Thomas Jefferson from David Jones, 3 March 1801

From David Jones

George Town March 3d. 1801

Dear Sir/

As I know a multitude of business will necessarily croud on, it is with reluctance, I would now call your attention to several Subjects, some of which are of importance to the publick.

The first, I wish to mention is the Salt springs. within our present Purchase in the N.w. Territory, I am well acquainted with their Situations, and hope I can perform the Duty as well as any other person. I wish to be appointed to examine the strength of the water, &c. & report the same, in order to enable Congress to act on the Subject next Session.

This, I suppose, will be included in your Duty in preparing Business for next Session; but of this you are the best Judge.

Another subject respects the Changes, which will take Place in heads of Departments. My youngest Daughter is married to Archibald McClean in alexandria. his Character is without exception. Not having a fortune, & having received a liberal education, he kept an academy cheifly english in alexandria for some years past, & continues in that Station.

he has been among the most active Democrates, which proved some Disadvantage in his School, the Scotch being his enemies. He wishes to be appointed Collector of the revenue at alexandria in the Place of Sims, who is now provided for by his Master.

he expects Mr. Page, who is clerk to Sims to be recommended by the aristocratic Scotch Merchants. Page is an aristocrate himself; but has been more prudent than Sims. he has reason to suppose that Col. Peaton, who is a good republican, will also apply; but as Mr. Peaton is a man of fortune he has no need of an office, and Mr. McCleans appointment will meet his approbation, he expects no Difficulty from that Quarter.

If my application meets your approbation, it will be most gratefully acknowledged by me, & I am fully perswaded that you will never have cause to repent the appointment of my Son in Law as he is a man of Integrity and immoveable in his Principles.

You will find chringing aristocrates applying for appointments, one of which I will mention that you may be gaurded against him, and you may depend on it, he cannot be your Friend, nor has he one good Qualification, nor does he merit any favor of the Publick, yet he has got some Senecure either from Pennsylvania or the united States for many years. I mean Francis Mintgis. I know not what is his object, but I saw him spaking with one of the Senate, & I am perswaded some office is his object, but he is worthy of none.

Most Sincerely, I pray that God may bless your administration, & give that Degree of wisdom, which may enable you to triumph in the Cause of Liberty. I Subscribe myself your unchchangeable Friend

David Jones

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson President Elect”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Mch. and so recorded in SJL.

Born in New Castle County, Delaware, David Jones (1736–1820) joined the Welsh Tract Baptist Church before moving to New Jersey, where he attended Hopewell Academy and was ordained a Baptist pastor in Freehold in 1766. He served as an army chaplain under General Anthony Wayne during the Revolution. On 28 Feb. 1800, Congress received Jones’s memorial regarding the salt springs in the Northwest Territory and his desire “to work one of the said springs rising near Walnut Creek, on such terms as Congress shall think reasonable and just” (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 3:608; Sprague, American Pulpit description begins William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, New York, 1857–69, 9 vols. description ends , 6:85–9; Pa. Arch., 2d ser., 8:754).

Jones wrote again on behalf of McClean on 2 July 1801 (RC in DLC). McClean, upon learning of his father-in-law’s correspondence twice on his behalf, wrote TJ on 22 Feb. 1802, apologizing for his family’s interference and justifying his initial application. McClean explained that prior to TJ’s inauguration it was widely believed that Charles Simms, Collector of the revenue at alexandria as of 9 Aug. 1799 and later mayor of the city, would receive one of Adams’s judicial appointments, thus creating a vacancy in the Alexandria collectorship. Upon Jones’s urging, McClean inquired about the position but when neither Simms’s resignation nor removal occurred, McClean dropped the matter. He explained that his father-in-law did not mean to displace an officer and that his own motives were “national interest, not private emolument.” He did not seek “publick remuneration” but if “a post to which profit is attached be presented to my option, the increasing expenses of a growing family would probably admonish me to accept the offer, were my qualifications deemed competent to the discharge of its duties.” McClean enclosed with his letter a slip of paper stating: “Should Mr Jeferson wish to write to me, he may direct to Revd David Jones Chester County Pennsylvania, To the Care of Dr Rogers at the university Philadelphia” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ as received 25 Feb. 1802 and so recorded in SJL; Mary G. Powell,The History of Old Alexandria, Virginia, from July 13, 1749 to May 24, 1861 [Richmond, 1928], 259–60; 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 , 1:326).

The aristocratic scotch merchants were probably members of the St. Andrews Society of Alexandria (Powell, History of Old Alexandria, 237–40). Col Peaton: probably Francis Peyton who became mayor of Alexandria (Miller, Alexandria Artisans description begins T. Michael Miller, comp., Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia, 1780–1820, Bowie, Md., 1991–92, 2 vols. description ends , l:xxvii).

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