Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Christopher Calvert, with a Note by Jefferson to the Attorney General, 25 February–21 March 1781

From Christopher Calvert, with a Note by Jefferson to the Attorney General

South Quay, 25 Feb. 1781. “Agreeable to the within information,” Calvert has seized the trunk and has found no letters in it, but rather a quantity of “valuable dry Goods”; wishes to know what is to be done with them. By law the Naval Office is open from ten to three; this prevents Calvert from attending muster; and, on account of his feet, he believes himself entitled to exemption from bearing arms. Desires “orders to Exemt me from Mustering or allow me to shut the office on Muster days”; also wishes to know any further duties of his post “laid on” by the last Assembly. The following memorandum appears at the foot of the text: “Mar. 21. 1781. The Attorney general will be pleased to advise what should be done with the goods above mentioned, and what with the person of the offender. Th: Jefferson.”

RC (Vi); 2 p.; endorsed. TJ’s direction to the Attorney General (Edmund Randolph) is in his own hand. Enclosure (Vi): A letter, unaddressed but undoubtedly directed to Calvert, “the Na. Officer at South Quay,” as follows: “Edenton the 21st of Febry. 1781 … there is a Donald McIn[tyre?] that come in the Virginia flag from Charls town and has a large trunk of goods that was purchast in Said Town and Fetching up to your port in a Small boat. I would be glad you’l take such Steps as you shall think Consistant with your duty. & oblige your Huml Servt Sign’d by J. Hardy who came in the Flagg. P.S. I shall be at So. Quay in a few days and give the Particulars.”

See TJ’s reply to Calvert, 23 Mch. 1781. Calvert, collector of customs at South Quay (in Nansemond, on the Blackwater River), was threatened with dismissal by Governor Harrison for neglect of duty (Official Letters description begins Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , iii, 297).

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