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To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, [19 October 1801]

From Albert Gallatin

[19 Oct. 1801]

Dr. Sir

I enclose the applications for the office of collector of customs at Wilmington. The office is worth at least 2000 dollars nett.

Colo. Read the former collector, recommended by Macon, Tatom & Robt. Williams, cannot be appointed. He was not removed on account of his politics, but dismissed for remissness in official duties upon an official report of the Secy. of the Treasury. He was removed in 1797, was pressed for years to settle, & is now delinquent for a balance of seven thousand dollars, for which, suit has been instituted in May last.

T. Bloodworth is not, it is presumed, the fittest person for the office & his son is recommended only by him

Carleton Walker naval officer & next in rank to the office of collector is not recommended by any person & does not seem to expect the office. He was very lately appointed on the resignation of his uncle who had held the office from the establisht. of this Government; & it is presumed that he considers the pretensions of the surveyor as superior to his own. His uncle has signed Callender’s recommendn.

Thos. Callender surveyor seems to be considered generally, by right of promotion, as the proper successor of the late Collector. He is said by Mr Steele to be a good officer.

Ths. Robeson, deputy collector, was also deputy under Colo. Read, is supposed to be a man of integrity. He & Callender must be equally well qualified. Robeson is mentioned by Mr Bloodworth, but is not considered as having equal weight in the country with Callender, & seems hardly to expect the office. Yet I feel more inclined in his favour than in that of any other candidate.

An application for the Cherry Stone collectorship is also enclosed. With great respect.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); undated; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 19 Oct., also endorsed “Collector for Wilmington” and “for Cheryton’s” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Nathaniel Macon to Gallatin, Warrenton, 11 Oct. 1801, recommending James Read to fill the vacancy of collector at Wilmington, North Carolina, noting that he had become acquainted with the former collector during the Revolutionary War and “always entertained a good opinion of him” and thought, in consultation with other local Republicans, that it would be advisable to restore him to office if there was “no good cause for turning him out,” but promising to make the necessary enquiries if Gallatin had any doubts as to the propriety of the appointment, as his only wish was “that the most fit person should be appointed”; noting also that John Steele was acquainted with Read “and can doubtless inform you for what cause he was removed, there are those who believe it was for his political sentiments,” and enclosing the letter from Absalom Tatom (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 , 5:843–4; endorsed by Gallatin: “re giving office collector at Wilmington to Mr Read the former collector”). (2) Absalom Tatom to Nathaniel Macon, Hillsborough, 8 Oct., recommending Read as a man of integrity, whom he has known for almost 25 years, having served with him in the Revolution, for the vacancy, believing he was “removed by the late administration, without any cause,” and requesting that Macon write the proper officer in favor of Read (same, 5:844–5). (3) Robert Williams to TJ, 9 Oct., noting that upon receiving news of the death of the collector at Wilmington, he believes “it is the wish of most of respectable Character that the vacancy Should be fill’d by Col Read late Collector of that port, and who was removed by the late administration,—he was generally liked & said to be a good officer—My own acquaintance with Mr. Read & his character would authorise this opinion, besides being aided by the opinion of Maj. A Tatom (former Member of Congress) and others more acquainted with Mr. Read than I am” (RC in NHi: Gallatin Papers, at foot of text: “The President of the u States,” addressed: “The Secretary of State of the united States City of Washington,” postmarked and stamped, endorsed; see 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 , 5:841). (4) Timothy Bloodworth to Gallatin, Spring Hill, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 8 Oct., tendering his services for the collectorship at Wilmington and requesting that Gallatin mention him to the president; also recommending for the position: John P. Williams, whom he had formerly endorsed; his 27-year-old son Samuel Bloodworth, “active in Business, Now Inspector of Naval Stores in Wilmington, & does the Business of Collector, & surveyor of the Revenue”; and Thomas Robeson “who has Acted as Clerk in that office for some time, he supports a good Character, & I presume perfectly understands the Business, relating to the office” (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 , 5:835). (5) Perhaps Isaac Smith to John Donnell, Northampton, 12 Oct., requesting that Donnell speak to Samuel or Robert Smith, who could recommend him to the president for the collectorship at Cherrystone, an office worth about $330 per year, noting, “I am perfectly well situated, and have a good office” and would conduct the business “with fidelity and care” (same, 5:850; endorsed by Gallatin: “Enclosed in a letter from Robt. Smith Secy. navy who may give information of the fitness of the applicant A.G.”). Recommendation for Thomas Callender not found.

Remissness in Official Duties: after the dismissal of James Read, who had received his appointment from Washington in February 1790, John Steele, the comptroller of the Treasury, received enquiries from his home state of North Carolina. Steele replied that “appearances” were “very much against the vigilance if not the fidelity of the Custom house” at Wilmington and until these discrepancies were “better explained” the conduct of Read would “remain subject to the imputation of remissness at least.” While some in Wilmington were transferring blame from the collector “to that of his deputy or some other person acting in a still more humble station,” Steele reminded Edward Jones, soliciter general of North Carolina, that Read, as collector, would be held responsible at the Treasury Department (Wagstaff, John Steele description begins Henry M. Wagstaff, ed., The Papers of John Steele, Raleigh, N.C., 1924, 2 vols. description ends , 1:154–8; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser. description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, Charlottesville, 1983–, 48 vols.: Presidential Series, 1987–, 12 vols. description ends , 4:430–1). For Read’s role as a Federalist in Wilmington, his indebtedness, and his dismissal, see Prince, Federalists description begins Carl E. Prince, The Federalists and the Origins of the U.S. Civil Service, New York, 1977 description ends , 124–5.

On 11 Dec. 1800, Adams nominated Carleton Walker as naval officer at Wilmington in place of his uncle, John Walker, who had resigned. Thomas Callender received his appointment as surveyor at the port in 1790, at the same time John Walker received his (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 , 1:37, 39, 358–9).

Gallatin continued to send TJ the weekly list of warrants from the Treasury Department. The list for the week ending 10 Oct. included sixteen warrants, Nos. 49 to 64, for a total of $50,977.82. The nine warrants listed under the civil list, totaling $5,767.98, included No. 53, for $2,000, an installment on TJ’s salary as president. Two warrants under miscellaneous were No. 55, for $1,755.55, issued to Thomas Claxton for “Furniture President’s house” and No. 57, for $2,749.29, a payment to Marshal Thomas Lowry for the U.S. census in New Jersey. The largest warrant, No. 54, for $30,000, covered “Pay of the army.” One warrant, No. 63, was issued for $2,000 for the purchase of “bills on Holland at 40 Cts.” for the payment of principal and interest on the Dutch debt (MS in DLC; entirely in Gallatin’s hand; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 10 Oct. and “Warrants” and so recorded in SJL). The list for the week ending 17 Oct. 1801 included twenty warrants, Nos. 65 to 84, for a total of $45,882.31. Fourteen warrants, totaling $10,461.46, appeared under the civil list, including No. 67, a payment of $225 to William Duane for printing and binding books for the “Surveying Dept.” Three warrants, totaling $28,000, were issued for the purchase of “bills on Holland at 40 Cts.,” for the payment of principal and interest on the Dutch debt. Gallatin reported an “Apparent” balance in the Treasury at the end of the week of $2,996,436.06 (MS in same; entirely in Gallatin’s hand; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 19 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “do.” for “Warrants”).

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