Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William R. Lee, 28 September 1801

From William R. Lee

Marblehead Sept 28. 1801


Being informed that the Collectorship for the port of Salem & Beverly are to be changed—should that event take place I have to offer my self a candidate for that Office with a full conviction of my abilities to execute the duties in every respect

Conceiving it of the first importance your Excellency should be informed of the characters of those who apply for places of trust under your administration—I have requested the favour of Friends in this quarter to furnish you with information requisite

in addition to those I beg leave to refer you to the Honbl. Levi Lincoln Esqr. to whome I have the honour of being known—also Genl. Dearborn and Doctr Eustace for further information—with my most ardent wishes for you health & happiness, I have the honour to be with the highes Respect

Sir. Your Most Obd Servt

William R. Lee

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Exclly Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Oct. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “to be collector of Salem & Beverley.”

William R. Lee (1745–1824) of Marblehead attained the rank of colonel during the American Revolution, but resigned from the army in 1778 and returned to his lucrative commercial ventures. Around 1802, however, a series of financial reversals, including losses from his Yazoo land speculations, led to his retirement from business. TJ appointed him collector for Salem and Beverly in July 1802 (Thomas Amory Lee, “The Lee Family of Marblehead,” Essex Institute Historical Collections, 53 [1917], 155–68; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:432; Vol. 33:670).

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