Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Caleb Prew Bennett, [14] July 1801

From Caleb Prew Bennett

Christiana Ferry July [14] 1801

Dear Sir,

I beg leave to offer my name and character to the consideration of your Excellency for the purpose of soliciting an appointment to the office of Collector of the port of Wilmington should it become Vacant, or for any other Office within this State, for which I may be found qualified, presuming that revolutionary merit tho no claim to exclusive favor, will have its due weight with you, in the selection of characters to whom you will confide the subortinate parts of executive Trusts. permit me to inform you that I have served as an Officer in the Delaware Regiment during the late contest to establish that Independance, which you & your illustrious compatriots, conceived and determined with respect to my conduct in that office if it is necessary I can produce ample Testimonials since the War, I have been chiefly engaged in the peaceful & unambitious pursuits of Industry the fruits of which have been a good name the friendship of my fellow Citizens and a young and promising family of Children.—

To make more ample provision for the latter I am stimulated, thus to address you, & am encouraged to do it by the first who are willing and ready to give such pledges of my Integrity and ability as will at least justify me in making this application.—

your Commands addressd. to me near Wilmgtn. New Castle County will be respectfully recd. & attended to—I am &c.

Caleb P. Bennett

Dupl (NHi: Gallatin Papers); partially dated; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States.” RC, not found, recorded in SJL as a letter of 14 July received on 17 July 1801 with notation “to be Collector &c.” Enclosed in Bennett to Albert Gallatin, 7 July 1802 (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 7:322).

Caleb Prew Bennett (1758–1836) served with the Delaware Regiment during the American Revolution, enlisting as a private and attaining the rank of first lieutenant by the end of the war. He subsequently operated a public ferry on Christiana River, then became an innkeeper at New Castle. In 1807 he was elected treasurer of New Castle County and served as a major during the War of 1812. In 1833 Bennett won a close election to become the first Democrat elected governor of Delaware (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Heitman, Register description begins Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, April, 1775, to December, 1793, new ed., Washington, D.C., 1914 description ends , 99).

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