Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Gideon Granger, 8 August 1802

From Gideon Granger

Washington August 8th. 1802

Dear Sir.

Messrs. Bull and Dodd have notified me of their declining to accept the appointment of Commissioners. this has most certainly originated in the fixed determination of their friends in the City to persevere in their Attempts to obtain the removal of the Commissioner of Loans, and Postmaster. It exhibits a spirit in some measure assuming and really not very pleasing—I have not heared whether Mr. Nichols has concluded to serve, or has declined. I could wish that the vacancies might remain at present, and untill I shall write from Connecticut. It is my determination to retire from this City in a fortnight unless You should wish me to remain here. my Contracts are closed, and I think advantageously tho, by no means with such reductions, as in the large contracts in the War departmt: The State of my Office is such that the public Service will suffer no Injury from my absence. The Contest between the Clintonians and the Burrites runs very high in New York. I think it daily assumes a more serious Aspect. The Inclosed Letter I received from a friend by the last mail. Some parts of it, particularly what respects the Spanish Grants, appeared to me of Sufficient Importance to warrant my Submitting it to your perusal.

I am Sir With great Esteem and Respect—Yours

Gidn Granger

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Aug. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas Fenton to Granger, Natchez, 27 June 1802, reporting that in his exploration and mapping of the lands of Mississippi Territory “to which the Indian title has been extinguished,” he finds “that one half of the Land granted by the Spanish Government has been done since the Ratification of the Treaty with that Nation—the difficulty is those Grants have been Antedated”; when considering candidates for surveyor general it will be necessary “to prevent Certain Characters from being appointed who are absolutely Interested in those antidated grants”; Fenton recommends Seth Pease as being “as suitable a Person for the office of Surveyor General as any to be found in the states”; Presley Nevill of Pittsburgh is also suitable for the office (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, endorsed by TJ: “Pease to be Surveyor genl. of Missisipi”; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 5:154–5).

TJ followed Granger’s recommendations in the appointment of bankruptcy commissioners for Connecticut. Both Jonathan BULL and John DODD wrote the secretary of state on 19 July from Hartford declining their commissions. Bull noted that by accepting the appointment he would give the opposition reason to take the state judicial offices he held away from him. He also noted: “It is the opinion of my Friends here that the cause in which we are engaged will not be advanced by my acceptance, but the reverse.” Dodd informed Madison that “duty to my self and in my opinion to the Public require me to decline accepting the appointment.” William Imlay, who began serving as COMMISSIONER OF LOANS for Connecticut in 1780 and was continued in office by President Washington in 1789, retained the position until his death in 1807. TJ then appointed Bull to the office. Dodd replaced Ezekiel Williams as POSTMASTER at Hartford in January 1803. I HAVE NOT HEARED: on 27 July, John Nicoll wrote Madison that he would not be able to serve as bankruptcy commissioner at New Haven because he was “frequently absent from the State” (RCs in DNA: RG 59, LAR; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, J. C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, Chicago and Charlottesville, 1962–, 33 vols. Sec. of State Ser., 1986–, 9 vols.; Pres. Ser., 1984–, 6 vols.; Ret. Ser., 2009–, 1 vol. description ends ., 3:400, 403, 433; Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser description begins W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Philander D. Chase, Theodore J. Crackel, and others, eds., The Papers of George Washington, 1983– , 55 vols.  Colonial Ser., 10 vols.  Confederation Ser., 6 vols.  Pres. Ser., 15 vols.  Retirement Ser., 4 vols.  Rev. War Ser., 20 vols. description ends ., 3:368; Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Postoffices of the United States 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 99; 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 , 2:56; Vol. 34:42–3; Vol. 37: Appendix ii, Lists 1 and 2). Elisha Hyde declined his appointment as bankruptcy commissioner as well. Writing the secretary of state on 24 Aug. from Norwich, Connecticut, Hyde noted that many of his Republican friends urged him to retain his seat in the state legislature instead of serving as a commissioner. There were, he observed, “too many” in the state government who felt “very uncandid towards the present Administration.” He would have “an opportunity to be more active in favour of the present measures of the General Government” as a legislator (RC in DNA: RG 59, RD; endorsed by TJ: “Hyde Elisha. Connecticut declines Commn. bkrptcy”).

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