Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Martin Kinsley and Others, 8 June 1803

From Martin Kinsley and Others

Castine June 8th. 1803.


We the underwritten inhabitants of the District of Maine and in the vicinity of Frenchmans Bay haveing been informed that Meletiah Jordan Esqr: Collector of that Port is likely to be removed from his Office; would with great deference introduce to your notice Paul Dudley Sargent Esqr of Sullivan within the Port to fill the vacancy if there should be one, we can recommend as a Gentleman fully qualify’d to fill that Office, firmly attached to You and the present Administration, and through the whole of the Revolution and to this Day a steady Republican and has served his Country in the Field, the Legislature & the Judiciary with integrity and fidelity for thirty years past—With profound Respect

We are Sir Your Most Obedient And Most Humble Servs:

Martin Kinsley.

Jereh. Wardwell

William Vinal

Oliver Mann

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); probably in Kinsley’s hand, signed by all; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr. President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 June and “Sargeant, Paul Dudley, to be collector Frenchman’s bay. Maine. v. Meletiah Jordan” and so recorded in SJL; also noted by TJ on verso: “he is a federalist, a very weak man & merely a tool. he is now quiet & submissive.”

A native of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, Martin Kinsley (1754–1835) graduated from Harvard in 1778, studied medicine, and served as a purveyor of supplies during the Revolution. He moved to Hampden, Maine, in 1797. Kinsley served in the Massachusetts state government as a representative intermittently between 1787 and 1806, in the executive council in 1810 and 1811, and in the senate in 1814. In 1818, he was elected to Congress, serving one term from 1819 to 1821. In 1803, he became postmaster at Hampden. Jeremiah Wardwell of Penobscot, William Vinal of Vinalhaven, and Dr. Oliver Mann of Castine served, along with Kinsley, as state representatives in 1803. Wardwell and Mann had served together as selectmen at Penobscot in 1793 and 1794, before Castine was established as a separate town (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989 description ends ; Stets, Postmasters description begins Robert J. Stets, Postmasters & Postoffices of the United States 1782–1811, Lake Oswego, Ore., 1994 description ends , 129; Boston Independent Chronicle, 28 May-1 June 1801; Boston Republican Gazetteer, 9 June 1802; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 June 1803; George A. Wheeler, History of Castine, Penobscot and Brooksville, Maine [Cornwall, N.Y., 1923], 60–2, 66, 185, 327).

In 1801, the Treasury Department considered complaints against Melatiah jordan, collector at Frenchman’s Bay. Jordan charged that paul dudley sargent had instigated the investigation because he sought the collectorship. Jordan, a Federalist, remained in office until his death in 1818. According to SJL, on 9 June 1803 Jacob Crowninshield and others also wrote TJ recommending Sargent for the collectorship at Frenchman’s Bay. The letter, received by TJ on 17 June, has not been found (John A. Peters, “Memoir of Col. Melatiah Jordan, of Ellsworth, Maine,” Bangor Historical Magazine, 4 [1888–89], 66, 68; Vol. 35:726). For Sargent’s earlier interest in the collectorship at Penobscot, see Vol. 35:227, 229–30n.

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