Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Tudor Tucker, 31 October 1801

To Thomas Tudor Tucker

Washington Oct. 31. 1801.

Dear Sir

I recieved a letter from you in March last which expressed a willingness to undertake the duties of an office in the General government should occasion arise. with whatever pleasure I recieved this information, and however much I was chagrined not to return an answer, yet I found myself obliged by a rigorous rule, under which it was absolutely necessary to lay myself, to pretermit that ceremony. the considerations which oblige me never to say, even to my bosom friends, that an office will, or will not be given, will readily suggest themselves to you: and to make it a justification to all, it must be acted on without exception. what is done, when the time for acting arrives, is the only answer affirmative or negative which is given. I had had my attention directed to the Mint, in the event of it’s removal here & of the consequent resignation of the incumbent. but that institution will probably be suppressed & not removed. in the mean time I am happy that another vacancy happens wherein I can propose to avail the public of your integrity & talents, in a station of higher trust & respectability. the office of Treasurer of the US. is vacant by the resignation of mr Meredith, and I now propose it to your acceptance with assurances of the great satisfaction with which I shall see the public interest placed in hands so secure, and at the same time such an addition made to the mass of talents which I am anxious to concentrate in the administration of the government. mr Meredith proposes to retire from his office about the middle of November, if his successor is ready; but has politely offered to accomodate me by a further stay if necessary. I shall be anxious to recieve an answer as early as possible. I pray you to accept assurances of my high esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Doctr. Thomas Tudor Tucker.” Enclosed in TJ to Philadelphia postmaster Robert Patton, 31 Oct., explaining that Tucker’s “address in March last was No. 12 North 8th. street, Philada, or to the care of Messrs. E. & J. Perot,” and as the letter was important and TJ wished “a speedy answer,” urging Patton “to have him enquired for, & if he has left Philadelphia to have the enclosed addressed to the proper post office if you can discover it”; if Tucker was not in Philadelphia, TJ requested that Patton “be so good as to drop me a line of information” (PrC in DLC; at foot of text: “Mr. Patton. P.M. Phila.”; endorsed by TJ in ink on verso).

Born in Port Royal, Bermuda, Thomas Tudor Tucker (1745–1828) received a degree in medicine from the University of Edinburgh in 1770. He settled in South Carolina where he practiced his profession and purchased land in Charleston, Camden, and Ninety Six districts. He served as physician and surgeon at a Continental army hospital during the Revolutionary War. In 1789 he was a founding member of the South Carolina Medical Society. Active in South Carolina politics, Tucker served in the state assembly during the 1780s. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1787 and served as a congressman from 1789 to 1793. He took office as treasurer of the United States on 1 Dec. 1801, a position he held until his death (Biog. Dir. Cong.; S.C. Biographical Directory, House of Representatives, 3:725–6).

Letter from You: Tucker to TJ, 18 Mch., recorded in SJL as received from Philadelphia on the 21st, has not been found. For a recommendation of Tucker for director of the U.S. mint, see Vol. 33:522–3. Incumbent: Washington appointed Elias Boudinot as director of the Mint in 1795, a position he continued to hold until 1805 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; 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 , 1:194–5; 2:7, 10).

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