Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorandum from Aaron Burr, [ca. 17 March 1801]

Memorandum from Aaron Burr

[ca. 17 Mch. 1801]

New York
David Gelston, Collector, vice Sands } The Republicans of the NY. delegation in Senate & H. of R. are unanimously of opinion that these
changes should be made—they unite also in the arrangement here proposed, except that one Gentleman would prefer that Bailey and Davis should change place—Willett and Brown are also candidates for the Marshalls place and are both well qualified—all are personally known to a. Gallatin
John1 Swartwout, Marshall, vice Giles
Theodr. Bailey,2 Supervr. & Inspecr vice Fish
Matthew3 L. Davis, Naval officer Vice Rogers
Edw. Livingston, dist. atty. Vice Harison
Post Mr. at Esopus vice   Elmendorf } These are the suggestion
of A.B. from personal
Gilbert Livingston Post Mr. at Poughkeepsie vice Powers4
Gideon Granger, dist atty. vice Edwards This arrangement will be highly
acceptable to our friends in
Connecticut—all with whom I
have had any Communication
concur5 heartily, and deem
the three last to be immediately
Necessary. Edwards and
Bradley will resign.
Epraim Kirby—Marshall vice Bradley
   Munson Collectr. at N. Haven vice Goodrich
John Rutherford Throop
    Surveyr. at Do.
vice Munson
Abm.6 Bishop Post Mr at Do Vice

If the office of P.M. Genl. should become Vacant and Hampton should decline, Kirby would fill it very ably and would be willing to accept—He consents to take the office of Marshall from public Motives only, the emoluments being in that State very inconsiderable—

Judge Bull of Hartford is recommended for Loan officer, in Case of Vacancy—7

S. Carolina
Danl. Doyley now treasurer of that State—
Collector, vice Simmons } Suggested by Pinckney and Alston
and said to have the Concurrence of
Hampton—The two former thought
to be immedia[tely] and indispensbly
Necessary to our Interests
in S.C.
Col. Edw. Darrell Supervisor vice Stephens
Dominick A. Hall
Marshall Vice Wm. B. Cochran8
  • John J. Murray, formerly of Georgetown S.C. and a Member of the legislature of that State, has lately Married the only daughter of a very Wealthy Citizen of the State of NY. and has settled near his father in Law—Educated a Merchant and said to be of Respectable family and Connections—
  • —He wishes to be consul to Glascow or to some principal port in France—
  • —recommended by C. Pinckney & by Dr. Blythe one of the S.C. Electors,9 A.B. concurs in this recommendation—
  • Jas. Glover Chenango County now a member of the Legislature of N. York—an active, intelligent, discreet man & decided republican—proposes to remove into the Mississippi Territory & wishes to have an Agency in the sale of Lands of the U.S. He is eminently qualified for any such employment and must, wherever he may reside, become a man of considerable influence—He is about 32 yrs. of age

MS (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1:1339–40); undated; in Burr’s hand, except for concluding lines from Tr in Gallatin’s hand (see note 9) and check marks and notations in TJ’s hand as noted below; frayed at edges; endorsed by TJ: “Colo Burr’s last memm”; with notation by TJ in pencil on verso: “Chancellr. Livingston is against removing Rogers.” Tr (same, 1:1336–8); undated; in Gallatin’s hand; lacks TJ’s notations; endorsed by TJ: “Colo. Burr’s Memm. 1st. see 2d.” and “from Colo Burr.”


Burr probably gave this memorandum to TJ about 17 Mch., prior to his departure from Washington. As indicated in the notes below, TJ made notations on the document to reflect the status of the recommendations. He kept track of the pertinent appointments until the end of June. On 27 June, TJ appointed Samuel Osgood, who was allied with the Clintonians, instead of Theodorus Bailey to serve as supervisor of the revenue. TJ noted this on the memorandum (see note 2 below). TJ did not, however, place a check mark at Gelston, who received his appointment on 9 July, as he did at John Swartwout and Edward Livingston (see note 1), who received their appointments on 28 Mch. The appointment of Samuel Bishop as collector at New Haven took place in May 1801 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , 16:801; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:535; Appendix I, Lists 3 and 4).

Bailey and Davis should change places: TJ received an earlier list of New York candidates written in an unknown hand on the verso of an address leaf directed to “The Honorable Edward Livingston City of Washington,” which was franked and postmarked 16 Feb. 1801. The candidates Swartwout, Matthew L. Davis, Gelston, and Bailey can be found on the list associated with the same positions as are indicated in Burr’s memorandum above. Separated by a rule, the names appear again but with Bailey as naval officer and Davis as supervisor. Gelston’s name, perhaps in TJ’s hand, was added in front of the position of collector, which was originally blank, with “for consideration” in parentheses. At some point, “Davis, Supervisor” was canceled. “John Woodworth of Troy Atty. Gen.” and “Solomon Southwick Albany Marshal,” the last two entries on the document, are connected by a brace labeled “Albany District” (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1:1333; undated; endorsed by TJ: “New York. Officers”; see Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:534–5). Bailey, who had served as congressman from Dutchess County from 1793 to 1797 and during the Sixth Congress, returned to the House of Representatives in December 1801 after Thomas Tillotson resigned (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ).

Jacobus C. Elmendorf served as postmaster at Esopus and Kingston from June 1796 until early 1803, when he was reportedly dismissed for being a “Federal Republican.” Conrad I. Elmendorf then assumed the position. Levi McKeen, who was recommended by Gilbert Livingston, became postmaster at Poughkeepsie in January 1802 in place of Nicholas Power, editor of the Poughkeepsie Journal. This followed the administration’s policy of prohibiting newspaper publishers from serving as postmasters (Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Postoffices of the United States, 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Oregon, 1994 description ends , 181, 186; Kline, Burr, 1:543; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, vols. description ends , 1:723).

For TJ’s decision to appoint Samuel Bishop collector at New Haven, see his notes of a Cabinet meeting of 17 May. See also note 6, below.

Office of p.m. genl.: on 30 May TJ wrote South Carolina planter Wade Hampton to inquire whether he would accept the office of postmaster general. He declined (Wade Hampton to TJ, 26 June 1801).

S. Carolina: in September 1801 Burr recalled that Charles Pinckney had conversed with him on several occasions about changes to be made in the state. Burr noted: “I made a minute agreeably to his information, and having consulted with one or two others, by whom it was approved, I handed it to the President, noting precisely the authority from which it came.” Unable to locate a copy of the document, Burr only remembered that the collector, supervisor, and marshal were to be removed and that Daniel D’Oyley was one of those recommended (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 2:623–4). For previous notes by TJ on D’Oyley, see Notes on Candidates for Public Office printed at 23 Dec. 1800.

In July 1801, at the urging of Governor John Drayton, young Charleston attorney Edward Darrell agreed to serve as commissioner of the first division in South Carolina to provide for the valuation of land and houses and the enumeration of slaves under the Direct Tax. He received his commission but died before his appointment could be brought before the Senate (Charleston City-Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 13 Nov. 1801; Appendix I, List 4; John Drayton to TJ, 29 July 1801).

TJ appointed Charleston attorney Dominick A. Hall chief judge of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court on 1 July. Wm. B. Cochran: that is, Charles Burnham Cochran. When Cochran resigned his commission in October 1802 to look after “agricultural concerns,” his brother Robert E. Cochran was appointed in his place (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 3:609; 4:31; Appendix I, List 4).

For Pinckney’s part in the recommendation of John J. Murray, see Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:520–1. Murray married Margaret Ryers DeHart, the only daughter of Gosen Ryers from Richmond County, New York, and the widow of Stephen DeHart (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:542, 545n). For Murray’s appointment as consul at Glasgow, see Appendix I, Lists 1 and 4.

1TJ placed a check mark in front of this entry and the entry for “Edw. Livingston, dist. atty.”

2TJ here interlined “Osgood” in place of “Theodr. Bailey.”

3“Matthew” canceled with “X.”

4Name lacking in Tr.

5Tr lacks remainder of this and next sentence.

6TJ here interlined “Samuel” in place of “Abm.” and added “rather collector vice Munson vice Goodrich.”

7Tr lacks preceding sentences, from the short horizontal rule to this point.

8In Tr Gallatin added: “The district atty. is represented to be a discreet honest man.”

9MS ends at this point; remainder from Tr in Gallatin’s hand.

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