Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 29 December 1801

To James Madison

Dec. 29. 1801.

Dear Sir

To compleat the roll of governmental officers on the plan inclosed will give the departments some serious trouble: however it is so important to present to the eye of all the constituted authorities, as well as of their constituents, & to keep under their eye, the true extent of the machine of government, that I cannot but recommend to the heads of departments to endeavor to fill up each, their portion of the roll as compleatly as possible and as early too, that it may be presented to the legislature.  health and affectionate respect.

Th: Jefferson

P.S. As the Post master general has a part to perform, will you instruct him accordingly? I inclose a spare copy of the papers which you can hand him.

RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); signature and date clipped, supplied from PrC; at head of text: “Circular”; at foot of text: “The Secretary of State.” PrC (DLC). Enclosure: Tr of Gallatin to TJ, 27 Dec., and enclosure.

TJ recorded this letter in SJL as “Departments circular.” He undoubtedly sent the same text, without the postscript, and the enclosures to Henry Dearborn and Robert Smith, but those letters have not been found.

Jacob Wagner sent TJ an undated document entitled “Salaries & Compensation to the Secretary of State, his Clerks, and the officers acting in connection with the Department of State.” While the document served as the State Department’s answer to Gallatin’s request for information, Wagner probably sent it to TJ before the Treasury secretary specified the information he needed for the roll of government officers. Wagner named the six department clerks, with the total allowance for their salaries, information Gallatin clearly indicated the Treasury Department would provide. Wagner also provided the names and salaries of the U.S. ministers and their secretaries, the U.S. consuls to the Barbary nations, the U.S. agents for managing claims in prize cases, agents for the relief of seamen, and the commissioners appointed under the 7th Article of the Jay Treaty, all information requested by the Treasury secretary. Wagner did not include the names of the scores of unsalaried U.S. consuls, who received fees and “a commission on their lawful disbursements, not exceeding five per cent,” information requested by Gallatin and subsequently included in the roll of officers presented to Congress. Wagner also failed to provide information on the commissioners appointed under Article 6 of the Jay Treaty, as Gallatin requested. Perhaps Wagner’s list provided information on State Department expenses for 1802, and, therefore, the salaries of the commissioners under Article 6, who had completed their work, were not included (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 119:20522–3, undated, entirely in Wagner’s hand, endorsed by Wagner: “Salaries of the Department of State,” endorsed by TJ as received from the State Department in “Dec. 1801” and “Salaries”; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 2:350; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Miscellaneous, 306–8; Gallatin to TJ, 27 Dec., and enclosure).

Index Entries