Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Hanson, 14 September [1801]

From Samuel Hanson

George-Town, 14th Septr., 1800 [i.e., 1801].

Dear Sir,

The Interest you have had the Goodness to express for my well fare will excuse my troubling you with the Enclosed Letter from my friend, Judge Tilghman—and my informing you that in consequence of it, I was induced to relinquish my pursuit at Philadelphia. Indeed I should not have engaged in it had I known, what is now generally supposed to be the case, that the Salary will be less than my present one

The Resignation of Mr. Meredith was announced here a few days ago. The universal rumour of the district is that I am to succeed him. I do assure you, Sir, that no intimations, the most distant, of mine have given rise to it. Should, however, my pretensions be considered such as to warrant the appointment, it would lay me under infinite obligations

I felicitate you on the recent triumph of Republicanism in the Election of Democratic Electors of the Senate in the State of Maryland. In the district contiguous to the District of Columbia the progress of Democracy is remarkable, the Numbers having encreased, since the last Election, in the ratio of 2½ to 1. During the contest I met with some of the electioneering Hand-Bills. In one of them the Federal Partizan dwelt a good deal upon the nefarious invitation to the Infidel Tom Paine. His opponent replied by descanting on the Eastern Sorcery which can convert Seven Black Horses into House-Hold Furniture. The Event of the Election has proved that even Infedelity is a crime more rancid, in the Eyes of the Sovereign People, than the Sin of Witchcraft.

Excuse my freedom—and do not, I pray you, Sir, imput it to any abatement of the perfect respect & Esteem with which I am

Dear Sir Your much-obliged & grateful Sert

S Hanson of Saml

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 17 Sep. Enclosure not found.

Samuel Hanson (c. 1752–1830) of Port Tobacco Upper Hundred, Charles County, was a lieutenant colonel in the county militia from 1776 to 1778. He also served in the fifth Maryland convention in 1775, in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1782 to 1784, and as a Charles County justice from 1779 to 1786. By 1784 he had moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where he was editor of the Federalist Centinel of Liberty and George-town Advertiser as well as a merchant and trustee of Alexandria Academy. He died in Washington, D.C., where he worked as cashier at the Bank of Columbia. He and his wife, Mary Key of Philadelphia, boarded several students, including George Washington’s nephews, George Steptoe Washington and Lawrence Washington (T. Michael Miller, Artisans and Merchants of Alexandria, Virginia 1784–1820, 2 vols. [Bowie, Md., 1991–92], 1:183; Edward C. Papenfuse and others, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 1635–1789, 2 vols. [Baltimore, 1979–85], 1:409; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 30 vols.: Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 8 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 5 vols. description ends , 17:533, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 2:93n; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 1:29).

Samuel Meredith was first treasurer of the U.S. under the Constitution. Rumors may have circulated in 1800 about his intent to resign, but he did not retire from office until 31 Oct. 1801, when he cited his wife’s ill health and unsettled business affairs (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; Meredith to TJ, 29 Aug. 1801).

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