Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Tench Coxe, [11 May 1793]

From Tench Coxe

Saturday [11 May 1793]

Mr. C. has the honor to send to the Secretary of State a copy of a letter received this day. The names of the persons, to and from whom the letter is, have been omitted, because they will be both known to the Secretary. Mr. C. thinks it his duty to the writer, respectfully to request, that the matter may be confined to the P. and himself.

RC (DLC); partially dated; endorsed by TJ as received 11 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. FC (PHi: Coxe Papers); subjoined to RC of enclosure. Enclosure: [William Seton] to Coxe, New York, 10 May 1793, reporting that Albion Cox failed soon after the establishment of the Bank of New York; that a knowledgeable acquaintance of Cox’s describes him as “a man of the most superior abilities in his line or profession as a Smelter or refiner of Metals,” but one who lacks prudence and regularity and whose conduct before and since his failure does not say much for his integrity; and that he wishes his name and those of his friends to remain confidential (Tr in DLC; in Coxe’s hand, with signature omitted and initials used for Cox’s name).

On 8 May 1793, two days after TJ showed the President a letter from Thomas Pinckney announcing that he had engaged Albion Cox to serve as assayer of the United States Mint, Coxe, undoubtedly acting in response to a request for information from TJ, wrote a letter to William Seton, a New York City merchant who was cashier of the Bank of New York, and asked him for an evaluation of Cox’s business failure in New York and personal character, noting that Cox was under consideration for a sensitive public office and that the information requested was intended for the head of a department and an even more important official—a clear reference to the Secretary of State and the President (PHi: Coxe Papers; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 129). TJ and Director of the Mint David Rittenhouse conveyed the substance of Seton’s evaluation of Cox to the President on 16 May 1793, with the result described in note to Pinckney to TJ, 12 Mch. 1793.

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