To Caesar A. Rodney
Washington Nov. 28. 1802.
I am indebted to you for several letters giving me pleasing information from time to time of the progress of your election & of it’s final result. I have avoided answering because of the use which the disaffected made of our correspondence, by lying imputations on it’s object. that I, as well as every other honest man should rejoice at your substitution for that of your predecessor, was right: and altho’ he is likely to obtain a more durable birth, it is one where calumnies can do little harm.—the happy effects of our fiscal operations, which already shew themselves beyond all expectation, will forever fix the fate of the fallen party. the prospect which presents itself is really consolatory, and will shew to our constituents that the resources reserved are so abundant if directed with economy, that nothing but war, or federalism getting hold of them, can prevent the extinguishment of the debt within the period contemplated.—on the reciept of your last letter, I enquired after the one you supposed to have been recieved. it was not recieved till a day or two after. altho’ not expressed in very positive terms, it was accepted as such, and will some time hence go into effect. but who is to be the successor? this is always the most difficult part of the subject, from which I hope you will relieve us by proper recommendations of the person whose principles & qualifications will be most out of the reach of objection. I cannot omit to congratulate you on the general progress of republicanism evinced by the late elections. the approaching session of Congress will not fail to give a new spur to that progress. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high respect.
RC (De-Ar); addressed: “Caesar A. Rodney Wilmington”; postmarked 29 Nov.; endorsed by Rodney: “Authorising me to appoint a successor to Al MClane.” PrC (DLC).
TJ received Rodney’s last letter, undated, on 4 Nov. Rodney referred to a letter that Allen McLane had written to the Treasury secretary, requesting that he be allowed to retain the collectorship at Wilmington, Delaware, at least until the close of the first quarter of 1803. TJ read and endorsed that letter on 3 Nov. (see note at Rodney’s letter to TJ, [before 4 Nov.]). TJ had also come into possession of a letter written by McLane to his friend John Steele on 25 Oct. Not realizing that the comptroller was in North Carolina and had resigned, McLane addressed the private letter to Steele in Washington; it was retained in the president’s papers. The Wilmington collector noted that he was “much exercised” since the Delaware elections, having heard people declare that his days were numbered. McLane went on to say that his enemies would give the president no rest “till he removes me.” Under these circumstances, he was pleading to be left in office only until the next spring. Through great exertions, McLane asserted, he had “secured dues to the United States to greater amount than ever was secured in any former year, with the least expences to the United States.” He contended: “should my enemies be able to prevail on the President to remove me before I reap the fruits of a service rendered at the risk of my life, the greatest injury will be done me, and I shall have cause to complain.” He requested that Steele sound out the president on the subject through Gallatin or Madison (RC in DLC; torn at seal; addressed: “John Steele Esquire” and “private”; endorsed by TJ: “Mc.lane to mr <Gallatin> Steele [. . .]”).