Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Hanson, 11 February 1803

From Samuel Hanson

Feby 11th. 1803


It is believed, generally, that John M. Gantt, one of the Commissioners of Bankruptcy for this county, will be appointed to a Judgeship in one of the districts of Maryland. In case of this event, I beg leave to recommend as a candidate for the place of Commissioner of Bankruptcy, Nicholas King, of this city—.

Presuming that you are acquainted with Mr. King’s character and pretensions, I have only to solicit you to excuse the liberty I take in his behalf; a liberty to which I am prompted merely by my desire to serve a worthy man, in indigent circumstances.

with great respect, I am, Sir, Your most obedt.

S Hanson of Saml

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ “King Nichs. to be Commr. bkrptcy v. Gantt” and so recorded in SJL on 11 Feb.

On 23 Feb., john m. gantt wrote Madison offering his resignation as bankruptcy commissioner for the District of Columbia. Maryland law required that upon accepting the appointment as a state judge, he resign any federal commissions he held. Gantt requested that Madison notify the president of his decision (RC in DNA: RG 59, RD; endorsed by TJ: “Gantt J. M. to mr Madison. resigns as Commr. bkrptcy”). TJ appointed James S. Morsell, a Georgetown lawyer, to fill the vacancy with a commission dated 3 June. Two days later Morsell returned the commission to Madison, noting that his professional duties occupied “so great a portion” of his time that he could not “render an attention to the execution of the trusts” required by the office (RC in same, endorsed by TJ: “Morsell to mr Madison declines as Commr bkrptcy”; Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser., 5:61; list of commissions in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC). In October, TJ appointed William O. Sprigg to join Hanson and William Thornton as bankruptcy commissioners (same; Vol. 37:709).

In August 1802, TJ endorsed the appointment of nicholas king as surveyor for the city of Washington. The State Department issued the commission on 4 Mch. 1803 (FC in Lb in DNA: RG 59, MPTPC; Vol. 38:234, 287–8, 327).

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