Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, [12 April 1802]

From Albert Gallatin

[12 Apr. 1802]

Ogden versus Tucker

Since Mr Ogden applied for those documents, Mr Pearson, the federalist mentioned in his letter, met Tucker & with another man’s assistance, assaulted & beat him. He was indicted & the federal Judges of the County of Burlington have fined him one dollar

Mr Ogden has called several times for an answer and he must have one. Will you be good enough to look at the two drafts contained & say which is the best made? and will you also assist me in the wording of the answer? For doubtless it will be used—

Your’s respectfully

A. G.

An early answer will oblige me much—

RC (DLC); undated, but see TJ’s note on enclosure; above postscript: “The President.” Enclosure: Draft of Gallatin to Aaron Ogden, undated, reading as follows: “The Secretary of the Treasury presents his respects to Mr Ogden and has the honor to inform him that transcripts of documents, such as Mr Ogden has applied for, never are and cannot with propriety be furnished on the application of individuals”; with a second paragraph: “On the present occasion, the personal quarrel between the former Collector of Egg harbour & the member of the State Legislature in whose name Mr. O. made the application renders it improper that any official information on that subject should be communicated through his channel” (Dft in NHi: Gallatin Papers; in TJ’s hand at foot of text: “Approved Th:J Apr. 12. 1802”; endorsed by Gallatin: “Apr 1802 Copy to Mr Ogden N.J. in Senate”). Other draft not found.

New Jersey Senator Aaron OGDEN, on behalf of William Pearson, perhaps sought documents from the Treasury Department pertaining to a complaint against Ebenezer Tucker, which led to his resignation as collector at Little Egg Harbor in 1799 (see Vol. 35:365–6). On 10 Feb., the Burlington County grand jury presented the Court of Quarter Sessions with an indictment against Pearson, a member of the state legislature. He was charged and convicted of assault and battery against Tucker. According to Tucker, William Coxe, another state representative, watched while he was beaten by Pearson. “A Friend to Justice” scoffed at the ONE DOLLAR fine, noting “what would have been the sentence of this same Court had William Pearson or William Coxe been waylaid and treated as they treated Ebenezer Tucker?” (Trenton True American, 2 Feb., 2 Mch., 25 May 1802; Trenton Federalist & New-Jersey State Gazette, 16 Feb. 1802). For Tucker’s central role in other political controversies in early 1802, see Prince, New Jersey’s Jeffersonian Republicans description begins Carl E. Prince, New Jersey’s Jeffersonian Republicans: The Genesis of an Early Party Machine, 1789–1817, Chapel Hill, 1967 description ends , 105.

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