Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, [26 November 1801]

From Albert Gallatin

Treas. Dep. Thursday morning [26 Nov. 1801]

Dear Sir

In relation to the within papers, it is proposed to transmit those concerning Latimer to Mr Dallas, with request that he should make a private enquiry into the facts & give this Depart. his opinion as to the Legality or illegality of the Collector’s conduct. From his report we will be able to judge whether the subject deserves consideration. With respect to Jordan, it is proposed to write to him as advised by Mr Steele. Gen. Dearborne knows the parties—Sparks’s case mentioned in Mr Steele’s & Sparks’s letters does not seem to require, and, indeed, he does not ask any investigation.

Respectfully Your obt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); partially dated; addressed: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received on 26 Nov. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

On 20 Nov., Gallatin sent letters regarding customs collectors George Latimer and Melatiah Jordan to John Steele and inquired if the comptroller knew anything about the transaction in the Latimer case, since his name was mentioned in Sparks’s letter. He noted that the complaints against Jordan “would have more weight was not the complainant anxious to get the office” and asked whether any of the “former complaints” mentioned had reached the comptroller’s office. Gallatin continued: “Does Jordan appear to have acted generally with propriety? or, have there been any suspicious circumstances in his conduct?” If an investigation were necessary, who was the best officer “in that part of the country” to carry out the inquiry? (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 , 6:90; endorsed and initialed by Steele: “Secty. of the Treasy. Concerns Latimer & Jordan. Mr. Luffborough is directed to give me the papers in the 1st. and Mr. Underwood to investigate the accompts of the last. J.S.,” and “Answd. and returned papers 25th. Nov. 1801”).

Jordan had served as collector at Frenchman’s Bay, in the district of Maine, since 1789, when the office was established (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 , 1:10, 13). On 15 Aug., Jordan informed Henry Dearborn that he had learned through his friend Leonard Jarvis that Paul Dudley Sargent had brought charges against him to the Treasury Department. Jordan noted that Sargent wanted his office, and that five years earlier he had brought similar complaints against his “Character & Conduct,” which, after an investigation, were dismissed. Jordan requested that Dearborn testify as to his character. The secretary of war sent the letter to Gallatin (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 , 5:578–9; endorsed, in part, by Gallatin: “Melat. Jordan Collector applies to Gen. Dearborn to be continued”).

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