Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Langdon, 5 May 1802

To John Langdon

Washington May 5. 1802.

My Dear Friend

I am this moment setting out on a short trip to Monticello, but must first congratulate you on the progress of republicanism in your state, proved by your coming so near to your competitor, and by the increased strength in the legislature. ça ira. let me at the same time ask you to recommend to me 4. persons to be commissioners of bankruptcy in Portsmouth, and if you have any other town of considerable commerce where bankruptcies will probably happen, recommend 4. others for that. it would be best to have 2. lawyers and 2 merchants in each, but 1. lawyer & 3. merchants may do. let them all be republicans. the sooner I hear from you the better. I have but a few minutes left and a thousand things to do in them. I must therefore conclude with assurances of my best affections and great respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NhPoS: John Langdon Papers); addressed: “John Langdon esquire Portsmouth N.H.”; franked and postmarked. PrC (DLC).

The PROGRESS OF REPUBLICANISM in New Hampshire was exemplified by the state’s recent contest for governor between Langdon and his COMPETITOR, John Taylor Gilman, the Federalist incumbent since 1794. Although Langdon was defeated, the Republican vote total increased by more than 3,500 from 1801, while Gilman’s margin of victory declined from 5,649 in 1801 to just 1,624 in 1802. After unsuccessful campaigns in 1803 and 1804, Langdon finally defeated Gilman in 1805 to become New Hampshire’s first Republican governor (Hosea B. Carter, comp. and ed., The New Hampshire Manual for the General Court, With Complete Official Succession, 1680–1891 [Concord, 1891], 151; Lynn Warren Turner, The Ninth State: New Hampshire’s Formative Years [Chapel Hill, 1983], 144, 187).

ÇA IRA: it’ll be fine.

ASK YOU TO RECOMMEND TO ME: Langdon was among TJ’s most trusted advisors on appointments in New England. Most recently, in a letter to Gallatin dated 20 Nov. 1801, Langdon had recommended Massachusetts state senator Aaron Hill, describing him as “a man of Talents Integrity, and good Republican who has borne the heat and burthen of the day” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Hill Aaron to office”; Vol. 34:173n; Vol. 35:601, 675n). Hill would be appointed postmaster at Boston late in TJ’s administration (Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Post offices of the United States 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 145).

Index Entries