Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Josiah Smith, 7 June 1802

From Josiah Smith

Pembroke in the County of
Plymouth Massachusetts
the 7th of June 1802

Honrd & Dear Sir

Since my Return to Massachusetts from Washington I have Conversed with a Considerable Number of Republicans in Boston Salem & other Parts of Massachusetts who are of Opinion that the officers of Government Collecting the Import Duties are the more Violent in their Opposition to the General Government & that they are More Dareing & Insolent on account of the Moderation & Lenety Shewn unto them & also by reason of the number of People Imployed by them they do affect the Elections of Massachusetts to a Considerable Degree Employing those Printers who are Continually Publishing Matters & things against the Conduct of the General Government & Influencing all whome they Imploy in all our Elections & being Informed that an attempt will be made to Remove the Collector for the Port of Plymouth in this State I would Beg Leave to Recomend Henry Warren as a Suitable Person to Fill that office a Son of your Old & Esteemed Friend General James Warren who for a Number of years Past have been Persecuted for their Political Principals a Singular Instance Lately hapened at our Late Election he had for a Considerable Number of years officiated as Clerk of our House of Representatives with applause but for his open Manly aprobation of the Measures of the Present Administration an attempt was made to Displace him & he obtained by one Vote only the Emolument which is about 1200 Dollars annually will be a releif to the Family of your Friends

I am Sir with affection & Esteem your most obedient Humble Servt

Josiah Smith

RC (MoSHi: Jefferson Papers); at foot of text: “to Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 June and “Henry Warren to be Collector of Plymouth” and so recorded in SJL; with an undated note in Dearborn’s hand on verso: “if any change is to take place in the office alluded to, Mr. Warren would undoubtedly be a suitable character to fill the office. H.D.”

Born in Pembroke, Massachusetts, Josiah Smith (1738–1803) graduated from Harvard College in 1774, studied law, and became a practicing attorney. He served two years in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and four years in the Senate between 1789 and 1797, the year he became state treasurer. Elected as a Republican representative to the Seventh Congress, he did not stand for reelection. On 7 July 1802, TJ appointed Smith a bankruptcy commissioner at Newburyport (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; list of commissions in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; Appendix II, List 2).

COLLECTOR FOR THE PORT OF PLYMOUTH: William Watson, whose conduct was investigated by the Treasury Department in 1801. HENRY WARREN was previously recommended for the Plymouth collectorship by his father James Warren, who described the incompetence of Watson and the anti-Republican sentiments at Plymouth in a letter to TJ of 5 Sep. 1801. In the summer of 1802, TJ offered Henry Warren the collectorship at Marblehead. Several months after he declined that appointment, Warren replaced Watson at Plymouth (Vol. 34:531–4; Vol. 35:221–3; Gallatin to TJ, 9 Aug. 1802).

On 29 May 1802, the Boston Columbian Centinel reported on the effort TO DISPLACE Henry Warren as clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He received 73 votes, while the other candidate, Federalist Kilborn Whitman, received 72.

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