Thomas Jefferson Papers

Memorandum from Albert Gallatin, 9 May 1803

Memorandum from Albert Gallatin

[9 May 1803]

House—Master of the revenue cutter at New London vice Hindmen—

Note—The commission denotes neither the name of the cutter nor the station; it should be sent from the Comptroller’s office to the Collector of New London with notice that it is intended to supercede Hindmen

Osgood—Naval officer for the district of New York vice Rogers

Sam. Ward do.   for the do   of Salem—   Story

Jeremiah Bennet junr. collector of customs for the district of Bridgetown—vice Elmer

 and also inspector of the revenue for the port of Bridgetown in the district of Bridgetown

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 132:22774); entirely in Gallatin’s hand; undated; endorsed by Gallatin: “Denomination of offices”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department on [9] May and “removals” and so recorded in SJL.

Shortly after TJ took office, George house wrote Madison claiming that he rightly deserved to be captain of the New London revenue cutter instead of Elisha Hinman, who received the appointment during the Adams administration only because he was a Federalist (Vol. 34:357n). On 29 Jan. 1803, Nicoll Fosdick, a bankruptcy commissioner, and nine other New London Republicans petitioned Gallatin to appoint House, declaring that the change “would be consistant with sound policy, and conducive of publick good.” They noted that Hinman was not the best qualified for the office, “but on the contrary it is well known that his advanced age, increasing infirmities, together with the superanuated state of his mind, give Cap. House a decided superiority.” Gallatin sent the petition to TJ with the note: “From other quarters Captn. Hinman has been represented to me as incapacitated by age & inattention to his duty.—Albert Gallatin” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 5:0316–18; Vol. 37:704, 708). Gallatin also forwarded a 10 Mch. letter from Nathan Post who, with Fosdick and John Cahoone, had conducted a survey of Long Island Sound in 1802 using the revenue cutter commanded by Hinman. Post described the poor condition of the cutter, including “Large holes in her sails.” He characterized Hinman “as worn out with old age his, Politicks full of Pison” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 5:0374–5, endorsed by TJ: “House v. Hindman. Post’s lre to mr Gallatin”; Vol. 38:491n). Hinman defended his right to retain office in a letter to TJ of 16 Nov. 1801. Gideon Granger also forwarded TJ arguments against Hinman’s removal (Vol. 36:292).

On 10 Nov. 1802, Samuel ward applied to TJ for a position at the port of Salem (Vol. 38:660–1). Upon learning that Joseph Story would not agree to serve as naval officer there, Ward wrote James Sullivan on 7 Apr. 1803, requesting that he use his influence with the president “that I may be appointed to that office.” Fourteen Salem residents, described as “respectable and friendly to the present administration,” endorsed the request. Sullivan forwarded the letter to James Madison on 11 Apr. and gave his personal recommendation of Ward, noting “I have known him as a magistrate and military officer when much depended on his exertions, and when many who would now gladly take offices were skulking from public danger” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Ward Saml. to be Naval officer of Salem vice Story”). Fearing that his previous applications and recommendations had not been received in Washington, Ward wrote Gideon Granger on 16 May reviewing the correspondence and assuring the postmaster general that his appointment would be “agreeable to all the Republicans of the Town” including Salem collector William R. Lee, with whom he had been “intimately acquainted for nearly forty years” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Ward Saml. to mr Granger. to be naval officer of Salem”). TJ saw one other application for naval officer. On 6 May, William Carlton of the Salem Register wrote Samuel H. Smith describing the persecution he had experienced from Federalists after he opposed Timothy Pickering’s candidacy for Congress. Carlton noted: “I think there is no one in this quarter who has been more buffetted in the political tempest than I have. If I deserve reward, I shall be grateful for it—if not, I am content—But it would be extremely agreeable to 500 Citizens of this town, that I should be noticed, particularly noticed, by the Gen. Govt., as I have been so particularly noticed by the cancorous enemies of that Government” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Carlton Wm. Salem. May 6. 03. to S. H. Smith. to be Naval officer Salem”). For the efforts of the Massachusetts Federalists to silence Carlton and his newspaper, see Vol. 39:150–1, 154n.

jeremiah bennet junr.: on 3 Mch., New Jersey congressman Ebenezer Elmer recommended Bennett for the position at Bridgeton, New Jersey, in case Eli Elmer, his cousin, was removed (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Bennet, Jeremiah, junr. to be Collector of the district of Bridgetown N.J. Elmer’s lre to mr Gallatin”; Gallatin to TJ, 3 Jan.).

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