Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Dickinson, 10 March 1802

From John Dickinson

Wilmington the 10th of the
3d. Month 1802

My dear Friend,

This Letter will be delivered by Archibald Alexander, prothonotary of this County, a Man of sense and sound Principles.

He is deputed, as I understand, by the Inhabitants of the antient Town of New Castle, to make some application to Government, concerning Improvements of the Port there and the Advancement of commercial Interests.

He believes, that I am honoured by a share of thy Friendship, and has therefore desired this Introduction; and I hope, that I do not take too great a Liberty by complying with his Request.

With every respectful Recollection, I am thy truely affectionate Friend,

John Dickinson

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 19 Mch. and so recorded in SJL. Dft (PHi).

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER, a physician in the Revolutionary War, president of the Patriotic Society of New Castle, and a founder of the Medical Society of Delaware, represented New Castle County in the Delaware assembly in 1795 and in the state senate in 1791, 1793, 1796, 1798, and 1800. In 1795, he ran for governor of his state and two years later made an unsuccessful bid for the United States Congress, each time losing to a Federalist. He was appointed prothonotary for New Castle County in 1801 and served until 1805 (Henry C. Conrad, History of the State of Delaware, 3 vols. [Wilmington, 1908], 1:264, 272, 297; W. H. Duncan, “The Founders of the Medical Society of Delaware: Doctor Archibald Alexander,” Delaware Medical Journal, 79 [2007], 407–9; Liam Riordan, Many Identities, One Nation: The Revolution and Its Legacy in the Mid-Atlantic [Philadelphia, 2007], 124–5).

APPLICATION TO GOVERNMENT: two memorials signed by citizens of the state of Delaware were presented to the House of Representatives on 17 Mch. The first requested that New Castle be established as a port of entry for the convenience of the citizens of both Pennsylvania and Delaware; the second asked that Congress appropriate money “for defraying the expense of erecting piers in the river Delaware, in or near the harbor of New Castle.” Both were referred to the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1826, 9 vols. description ends , 4:140). In early April, Congress appropriated $30,000 for the erection and repair of public piers on the Delaware River (see Memorandum on Delaware River Piers, at 26 June).

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