Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Thomas Jenkins, 7 July 1802

From Thomas Jenkins

Hudson July 7th. 1802—


The bearer hereof Mr. Isaac Dayton has lately been employed as one of the Collectors of the Internal Taxes under Samuel Osgood Esqr late Supervisor for the District of New York, which Office expired on the 30th. June last, in Consequence of the Judicious repeal of the Excise Laws during the last Session of Congress—Should it be deemed expedient and Consistent with sound Policy to remove the present Officers employed in Hudson for the Collection of the Imposts, I hereby recommend Mr. Dayton as a suitable Person to fill the Office now enjoyed by John C. Ten Broeck Esqr. and Shubael Worth Esqr. as a suitable Character to fill Office at present occupied by Henry Malcolm Esqr—I am of opinion that the two Characters I have recommended will meet the entire approbation of a Majority of the Mercantile and most Respectable Men of our City, and as such I beg leave to recommend them to your Consideration—

I am Sir Respectfully Your most Obt. Servt.

Thos. Jenkins

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 15 July and “Isaac Dayton to be Surveyor of Hudson v. Tenbroeck” and so recorded in SJL with a brace connecting this letter to ones from Dewitt Clinton and Samuel Osgood (see below).

Thomas Jenkins (c. 1741–1808) took the leading role in the development of the town of Hudson, New York, at Claverack Landing on the Hudson River in the 1780s by an association of proprietors from New England seaports. Jenkins, a Quaker, was born on Nantucket and was a prosperous merchant in Providence, Rhode Island, before moving to Hudson. There Jenkins headed a firm that engaged in overseas commerce and whaling. He owned real estate and was involved in rope manufacturing, whale oil processing, and candlemaking. In 1797, his taxable estate was far larger than that of any other resident of Hudson. Jenkins held the offices of alderman and town supervisor from 1788 to 1791. The state Council of Appointment made him the mayor of Hudson beginning in 1793. In the spring of 1804, he participated in local Republican meetings that supported the nomination of Morgan Lewis rather than Aaron Burr as governor of New York. One of Jenkins’s sons was Elisha Jenkins, who in 1802 was the comptroller of the state of New York (Stephen B. Miller, Historical Sketches of Hudson [Hudson, N.Y., 1862], 6–8, 16, 18, 27–8, 30, 35–6, 113–15; Hudson Bee, 7 Sep. 1802, 13 Mch., 10 Apr. 1804, 13 Sep. 1808; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 15:665–6; Vol. 37:539–40).

ISAAC DAYTON had succeeded John C. TEN BROECK as the collector of internal revenues at Hudson after Ten Broeck was removed from that office for “delinquency” a few months before the dismantling of the excise collection system on 30 June, as provided by the 6 Apr. act to repeal internal taxes. Ten Broeck still held two customs positions, as surveyor and port inspector. He was a member of one of the families of Dutch origin that resided in the Claverack area before the proprietors of Hudson began their venture in the 1780s. Although some of those families opposed the proprietary association, the Ten Broecks cooperated with the newcomers and made a place for themselves in the town’s governance. SHUBAEL WORTH, a Hudson merchant, was one of the original proprietors of Hudson. The Dayton family was also part of the proprietary association, and like Worth played an active role in a Republican group allied with Charles Holt, publisher of the Bee. HENRY MALCOLM was the collector of customs at Hudson (Miller, Historical Sketches of Hudson, 6, 7, 9, 10, 19, 23, 28, 34, 43, 64–5, 69, 115–16; 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, 1:270, 281; U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States . . . 1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:148; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States . . . to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:447; Dayton to TJ, 19 Oct. 1802).

On the same day that TJ received the letter printed above, he received communications from DeWitt Clinton at Newtown and Samuel Osgood in New York City, both written on 10 July. Those letters have not been found, but they apparently related to the same subject as Jenkins’s letter, for TJ connected the three entries in SJL by a brace with the notation “Isaac Dayton to be collector of Hudson vice Tenbroeck.” Clinton likely forwarded a recommendation addressed to him by Ambrose Spencer. Writing at Hudson on 8 July, Spencer called on Clinton’s “good offices with the President of the United States” in support of Dayton’s quest for “the Offices now held here under the government of the United States” by Ten Broeck. Ten Broeck, Spencer averred, was guilty of “delinquencies as an Officer,” misconduct, and “violation of Duty.” Spencer also recommended that Worth replace Malcolm, who as a physician was “often called away” from his customs post and should be dismissed “on various accounts” (in DNA: RG 59, LAR).

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