Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 9 August 1802

From Albert Gallatin

Washington 9th August 1802

Dear Sir

I arrived here last week, and found much business to do, but principally mere details with which I will not trouble you.

A second report has come to hand in relation to the Delaware piers recommending Reedy Island, in lieu of Marcus hook: finding three persons to have been appointed by a law of the State of Delaware superintendents to erect piers at New-castle, I wrote to them for information in relation to that spot, and when1 that shall have been received will forward the whole to you.

The Collector of Norfolk, instead of sending the detailed estimate of the repairs necessary for the hospital, transmitted one consisting only of four items & amounting to near 11,000 dollars. I wrote him again for details; but finding one of the items for six hundred dollars to be for that wing which is now occupied by the seamen, & which, by the representation of the collector, and Gen. Dearborn’s statement, was so leaky that the sick were shifted from place to place whenever it rained, I thought those repairs might be immediately authorized without waiting for your official approbation which I knew under those circumstances, would not be refused.

I have written to you two official letters, one relating to the appointment of a light house keeper, the other enclosing a set of regulations for the Mississipi trade. These I wish you would be good enough to examine as soon as convenient and to return with your approbation or alterations, as I only wait for their return to dispatch a circular, after which I will take an excursion to the hills.

I enclose the recommendation for Slade’s Creek, the only one which I have received, &, for your recollection, enclose also your letter to me of the 2d ulto. as it relates to Jasper. I think Tooley may be appointed.

General Dearborn has written to you that Lyman is gone to Europe, and has I suppose recommended Cross in his place for Newbury-port, and he has also, I presume, written that Warren will not accept Marblehead. For this last place W. R. Lee recommends Joseph Wilson; his letter I enclose. There are blank commissions left at the Secretary of State’s office which will be filled for both places as you may direct. I stopt just in time the commissions for Lyman & Warren & the Comptroller’s letters of dismission to Tyng & Gerry. Smith had, however, published in his papers the intended appointments—but that will not prevent the dismissed officers from continuing to act till the successors shall have been appointed. Crowningshield writes from Salem that Lee is an improper appointment—is that well grounded? or mere clanish prejudice? If the first, it is really extremely wrong in our friends to give such erroneous information, for who could be more strongly recommended than Lee? But Crowningshield recommends John Gibaut, who to me, by an old personal friend, a clergyman in Salem had also been very strongly recommended, but on hearing the manner in which Lee was spoken of, did not even mention Gibaut’s name. He would certainly have been better for Salem. Cr. now recommends him for Gloucester (the only port in Essex left untouched) instead of Tuck whom he represents as worse than Tyng. I suppose Gen. Dearborne has written all this & have mentioned it only in order to say that under present information, and for the purpose of pacifying Salem I would not think it wrong to appoint Wilson—Cross—& Gibault in lieu of——Tyng—Gerry2Tuck for——Newburyport—Marblehead—Gloucester. Lee has got his Salem commission. Had I seen Crown.’s letter I would also have stopt it, (as Lee was willing to take Marblehead,) till you had had the whole subject once more before you.

Appearances are strong at New York—the schism disgusts many republicans, is fomented by the federalists—Wood’s pamphlet has done & will do no inconsiderable injury.  Every thing seems placid in Pennsylvania, though the party makes a tolerably ingenious argument out of M.’s appt. I apprehend we have lost some ground in New Jersey: it is said we have gained in Delaware. I doubt it.

With affection and respect Your obedt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); with emendations by TJ (see note 2 below); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on 12 Aug. and “appointments” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) TJ to Gallatin, 2 July 1802. (2) Perhaps William R. Lee to Henry Dearborn, 16 July 1802, recommending Joshua Orne, a moderate Federalist, as collector at Marblehead, or Joseph Wilson, “who is in my opinion equal to the trust, his character good, his politicks republican”; offering also to accept for himself the collectorship at Marblehead if the position at Salem does not become vacant; and warning that under no circumstance should “our ex parson” (Isaac Story) receive an appointment from the administration, noting that he differs in politics, uses “ungarded expressions, respecting the President,” and is “of a character in whome no confidence can be placed” (RC in NHi: Gallatin Papers, endorsed by Dearborn: “Joseph Wilson collector for Marblehead,” endorsed by Gallatin: “to Gen. Dearborn”; Vol. 35:517n; Dearborn to TJ, 3 Sep. 1802). Other enclosures not found.

THREE PERSONS: the supplementary act for the erection of piers in New Castle passed by the Delaware general assembly on 1 Feb. 1802 named Archibald Alexander, James Riddle, and James McCallmont as commissioners to superintend the work (Laws of the State of Delaware; Passed at a Session of the General Assembly, Which was Begun and Held at Dover, on Tuesday, the 5th day of January, and Ended on Friday, the 5th Day of February, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Two [Dover, Del., 1802], 223–8).

On 6 Aug., Gallatin wrote William Davies, COLLECTOR OF NORFOLK, and authorized the expenditure of $600 to repair the east wing of Gosport Hospital. Gallatin also requested a more detailed estimate, including the cost of “repairing the roof of the whole building, and such other repairs as may be essentially necessary” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 7:425). For an earlier report by Davies on conditions at the Norfolk hospital, see Vol. 34:681–2. DEARBORN’S STATEMENT has not been found, but see TJ to Thomas Newton, 12 July, for the secretary of war’s trip to Norfolk.

TWO OFFICIAL LETTERS: see the preceding letter of this date and Gallatin to TJ, 7 Aug.

The recommendation for surveyor at SLADE’S CREEK, North Carolina, has not been found, but it was evidently for Henry Tuley (TOOLEY), who received the appointment (David Stone to TJ, 1 May 1802).

DEARBORN HAS WRITTEN TO YOU: see his letter to TJ at 10 Aug.

MORE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED: William Heath, Levi Lincoln, and James Sullivan were among those who endorsed William R. Lee (Vol. 35:315–16, 498, 686). CROWNINGSHIELD RECOMMENDS: see Jacob Crowninshield to TJ, 15 Dec. 1801, for his earlier recommendation of John Gibaut instead of Lee at Salem. OLD PERSONAL FRIEND: William Bentley. The Salem clergyman wrote Gallatin on 7 Jan. 1802, recommending Gibaut, his former pupil at Harvard. Noting Gibaut’s abilities in mathematics, accounts, and all branches of natural history, Bentley declared: “He has the most extensive commercial knowledge of any man I know.” He valued Gibaut, now his neighbor and friend, “for his virtues, his talents, & his republicanism” (Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 6:427). Recommended by the leading Essex County Federalists, William TUCK had served as collector at Gloucester since 1795 (Prince, Federalists description begins Carl E. Prince, The Federalists and the Origins of the U.S. Civil Service, New York, 1977 description ends , 30; 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 , 1:180–1).

John WOOD’S PAMPHLET, A Correct Statement of the Various Sources from which The History of the Administration of John Adams was Compiled was published in New York in late July (see Vol. 36:478n). M.’S APPT.: Muhlenberg’s appointment as collector at Philadelphia (Gallatin to TJ, [7 July], second letter).

1MS: “what.”

2TJ here interlined in pencil “Cross” above “Tyng” and “Wilson” above “Gerry” (see TJ’s second letter to Gallatin at 14 Aug.).

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