Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Edgar, 10 January 1803

From William Edgar

New York 10th Jany 1803


I shall ever gratefully Remember your appointing me a Commissioner of Bankruptcey; And I hope you will Belive a sense of duty only, induce’s me to give in my Resignation

I Reside in the Country during the Summer season—this prevents My giving due attendance to the Buisness; and I cannot think of holding any office without performing the duty’s—

May you long priside over The Affairs of Our Nation is most Sincerely Wished, by Your Excellencys Much Obliged Hble Servt

William Edgar

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at head of text: “His Excellency the President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. and “Charles Ludlow to be appd.” and so recorded in SJL; also endorsed by TJ: “resigns as Commr. bkrptcy.” Enclosed in Edgar to DeWitt Clinton, New York, 10 Jan., with the request that the New York senator seal and deliver the letter if he thinks it proper, but “If it requires any Correction; I beg you will correct it, and, if necessary Return it to me”; Edgar notes that the appointment of Charles Ludlow in his place “will give me and Your friends much pleasure, and the sooner this is done the better” (RC in same).

William Edgar (1736–1820), a wealthy New York City merchant of Irish descent, was chosen by Burr to serve as one of the initial directors of the Manhattan Company when it was chartered in 1799. Burr consulted him during his financial difficulties in 1801 and 1802. DeWitt Clinton recommended Edgar as bankruptcy commissioner in May 1802, and during the New York elections of 1804, Edgar was clearly allied with the Clintonian Republicans. The Irish merchant also served as a governor of the New-York Hospital, a director of the United Insurance Company, and an officer of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:413; 2:643, 723–4, 838; An Act of Incorporation of the Manhattan Company [New York, 1799], 7; Beatrice G. Reubens, “Burr, Hamilton and the Manhattan Company: Part I: Gaining the Charter,” Political Science Quarterly, 72 [1957], 594–6; Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797 [Chapel Hill, 1967], 80; New York Minerva, & Mercantile Evening Advertiser, 17 May 1797; New York Daily Advertiser, 16 Feb. 1803; Vol. 37:516).

TJ accepted Edgar’s resignation and appointed Charles Ludlow in his place, as recommended by Edgar in his 10 Jan. letter to Clinton (see descriptive note above). Ludlow, who served as John Barnes’s correspondent in New York, began handling business transactions for TJ as well. Ludlow’s bankruptcy commission is dated 1 Mch. 1803 (list of commissions in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; Vol. 37:308, 708; TJ to Charles Ludlow, 17 June 1803).

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