Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Taylor, Jr., 29 December 1793

From George Taylor, Jr.

Philadelphia Decr. 29. 1793.

Dear sir

Learning with much regret that you are soon to leave us, and impressed with the most lively sentiments of gratitude for the manner in which you have treated me during the whole time I have had the honor to serve under your immediate direction—Sentiments which those who are acquainted with your generous mind, cannot but be penetrated with—Sentiments which if I know myself will never be effaced from my breast—my feelings will not suffer you to take your final departure without troubling you with these few lines bearing but an imperfect testimony of them—Of the effusions of I trust a faithful heart.

It is possible, Sir, that in the course of human events, in my passage through this tempestuous life, a particular Certificate, coming from you, of my conduct while under your direction, might prove of infinite service to me, and such an one as you may think I have merited, I would beg leave to solicit, independent of any general one or recommendation you may be pleased to give to your successor.

May you find in your proposed retirement, that happiness and ease, which the great and good, only, know how to value, and may those who are dear to you, long enjoy the pleasure of your Society, is the sincere prayer of he who will ever deem himself happy in executing any commands you may be pleased to honor him with, and who subscribes himself with the most profound veneration for your virtues and sincerest personal respect and attachment, Dear sir, Your most obedient and most humble servant

Geo. Taylor Jr.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Mr. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 Dec. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ responded on 31 Dec. 1793 with a certificate recommending Taylor: “The Bearer hereof George Taylor has acted in this Department, first as Clerk, and afterwards as Chief Clerk, the whole time of my being at the Head of it. I have found him faithful in the care and administration of it’s affairs, indefatigable in it’s duties, able, obliging, and of the most perfect integrity: and, on retiring from the Office, it is with great satisfaction I leave him this testimony of my sense of his conduct and merit. Given under my Hand this 31st. day of December 1793” (Tr in DLC: Washington Papers, Applications for Office, in Taylor’s hand, with “Department of State, to wit” at head of text and “(copy)” at foot of text; PrC of another Tr in DLC: Madison Papers, in Taylor’s hand and attested by him). Taylor probably intended to use the recommendation to lobby Congress for a higher wage. Within a week he enclosed a copy to Senator James Monroe and expressed the hope that it “may perhaps have some weight in the discussion of my salary” (Taylor to Monroe, 6 Jan. 1794, DLC: Washington Papers, Applications for Office). The appropriation for salaries at the State Department was indeed augmented in the 1794 civil list, with Taylor’s annual compensation increased from $800 to $1,000 (Vol. 17: 356–7n; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , iii, 1439, IV, 1419). Two years later Taylor used the certificate to good advantage when his salary was again at issue in Congress (Taylor to James Madison, 30 Jan. 1796, Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 22 vols. description ends , xvi, 206–7).

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