Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, [25 January 1802]

From Albert Gallatin

[25 Jan. 1802]

The within is written by the republican Senator & Members of Assembly in Pennsylvania from that County which includes Presquile & Allegheny.

Foster is one of the two only officers of customs who has not rendered his accounts for 1800 & is not removed.

A. G.

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); undated; address sheet torn; addressed: “The Presi[dent]”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 25 Jan. and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “Thos. Forster Collector at the port of Erie. to be removed.” Enclosure: John Kelso, John Cochran, and William McArthur to Gallatin, Lancaster, 13 Jan. 1802, requesting, on behalf of the “great bulk” of the inhabitants of western Pennsylvania, that Thomas Forster be removed as collector at the port of Erie (Presque Isle), for being partial to the British and declaring in “Public that he would exert himself to keep down every man that possessed Republican principles”; urging that the office be abolished “because the duties collected will not pay the salary,” the writers note that if that is not done they hope for the chance to recommend “a suitable person” (RC in same; in Kelso’s hand, signed by all; endorsed by TJ: “Kelso & others to mr Gallatin. to remove Forster Collector of Erie”).

William McArthur, a republican state senator, represented Crawford, Erie, Venango, Mercer, and Warren Counties. John Kelso and John Cochran were not members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1801–02 (Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Which Commenced at Lancaster, on Tuesday, the First Day of December, in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and One [Lancaster, 1801, i.e. 1802], 4; Journal of the First Session of the Twelfth House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [Lancaster, 1801, i.e. 1802], 3–5).

On 12 Feb. 1802, Thomas Forster (foster) wrote Pennsylvania congressman John A. Hanna, who had informed the collector of Gallatin’s complaint about his accounts. Forster noted that he had forwarded his accounts through 30 Sep. 1801 by mail on 6 Nov. and his quarterly report through 31 Dec. 1801 on 14 Jan. He could give no reason why they had not been received. The collector requested that Hanna contact Comptroller John Steele and if the accounts had not yet arrived he would “forward others immediately.” He also inquired whether the congressman would “confer an obligation on me by informing Mr. Gallatin of the truth of this business.” Hanna transmitted Forster’s letter, which included a response to local political charges made against him, to the Treasury secretary. Forster remained collector at Presque Isle during TJ’s presidency (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 6:692–3; 23:653).

Index Entries