From James Monroe
Richmond Octr. 21. 1802
There are two persons in this place who according to the information I have recd., have respectable claims to the office in question. The first of these is Jacob I. Cohen, a Jew but sound in his principles, of fair character & much employed in the business of the corporation. the other is Tarlton W. Pleasants, a brother of the clerk of the h. of Delegates, of equally fair character, and other respectable pretentions. I can give no name for Norfolk at present, but will as soon as I can. I had some expectation of seing you the begining of the next week, having proposed meeting Mr. Prevost at that time at the federal city or near it, who is so kind to come, take charge of and conduct my family to New York. But a late distressing event the death of my sister in Caroline will put it out of my power to proceed further than Fredbg., on acct. of the meeting of the council wh. is on friday in the next week. On my return I may be able to give a name for Norfolk. You will of course recollect to transmit me what the state of the affr. will permit relative to a provision of some place abroad to wh. to transport certain offenders.
with great respect & esteem yr. friend & servt
RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 26 Oct. and so recorded in SJL with notation “T. W. Pleasants to be Commr. bkrptcy Richmd.”
German immigrant JACOB I. COHEN settled in Richmond after the American Revolution and became one of the city’s most prosperous businessmen. TARLTON W. PLEASANTS was the former copublisher of the Petersburg Virginia Gazette. His mercantile firm of Anthony & Pleasants had recently declared bankruptcy. Neither Cohen nor Pleasants received a commission from TJ (Myron Berman, Richmond’s Jewry, 1769–1976: Shabbat in Shockoe [Charlottesville, 1979], 1–11; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:1134; Richmond Virginia Argus, 15 Sep., 9 Oct. 1802).
CLERK OF THE H. OF DELEGATES: James Pleasants (Vol. 36:577n).
John B. PREVOST, a stepson of Aaron Burr, was the former secretary to Monroe as minister to France (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 , 4:23; Vol. 33:309, 420).
MY SISTER: Elizabeth Monroe Buckner, wife of William Buckner of Mill Hill in Caroline County (Madison, Papers, Pres. 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 ., 5:361).