Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Levi McKeen, 19 September 1801

From Levi McKeen

New York the 19th Septembr 1801


The Republicans of the district which Mr Theodorus Bailey has represented in Congress was encouraged to believe, that Mr Bailey would have been appointed either Supervisor or Naval officer for the state1 of New York, when a vacancy should happen in those offices, by resignation or otherwise. The first of those offices has however been otherwise filled and I am Just now informed that it is not the Pleasure of the Government that the latter officer should be removed.

I have this moment Learned that the office of Commissioner of Loans for this district has become vacant by resignation, and as Mr Bailey’s Friends have reason to believe that the President of the United States is well acquainted with Mr Bailey’s Merits, they Hope that He will be appointed to that office as a Compensation for His long and faithful Service in our Republican Cause.

Mr Bailey has for many years been a Loan-officer in the County in which He resides under the Government of this State, and would be a very acceptable officer, should He be Appointed to this office. I would further observe that the Republican Citizens of Dutchess County believe they have a Claim to at least one of the respectable offices to be filled in this State.

In presuming to address this to You Sir (as I have not Honor to be known2 to You) I have been governed by a desire to serve my country, as well as Mr Bailey who is my Neighbor and Friend, and who is not Yet advised that the office of Commissioner of Loans is vacant. I am also induced to believe, that as soon as it was known that the office was vacant there would be other aplications and that it was only necessary to mention Mr Bailey, and for You to know He would accept of the office, to ensure His appointment, I Shall Set off from this City this afternoon and hope to See Mr Bailey in a day or two

I am Sir Your Most obedient Humble servant

Levi McKeen

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Excellency The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 1 Oct. from Levi McKeen and so recorded in SJL with notation “Theod. Bailey to be commr loans”; TJ later canceled McKeen’s name and added “Theo. Bailey” to the endorsement.

A Quaker merchant at Poughkeepsie, Levi McKeen was active in local Republican politics. He replaced Nicholas Power, the avid Federalist printer of the Poughkeepsie Journal, as postmaster in January 1802, after receiving the recommendation of Gilbert Livingston and other Poughkeepsie Republicans. McKeen supported Burr in the 1804 New York gubernatorial race. He supported Andrew Jackson in the election of 1824 (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:543; 2:636–7, 830, 1190–1; Prince, Federalists description begins Carl E. Prince, The Federalists and the Origins of the U.S. Civil Service, New York, 1977 description ends , 219–20; Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Postoffices of the United States, 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 186; Memorandum from Aaron Burr, printed at 17 Mch. 1801).

Other applications: see DeWitt Clinton to TJ, 14 Sep.

On this date McKeen addressed a letter to Gallatin, almost identical to the one printed above (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Mc.kean Levi to mr Gallatin” and “Theod. Bailey to be Commr. of loans”).

1MS: “sate.”

2MS: “kown.”

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