Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Albert Gallatin, 11 June 1803

From Albert Gallatin

June 11th 1803

Dear Sir

By a law of last session Beaufort in North Carolina, which was formerly a port of delivery attached to the district of New Bern, is made a district (or distinct port of entry & delivery) from and after the last day of June next. Heretofore the officer of the port was a surveyor with a salary of 150 dollars. His office will cease of course, and a collector must be appointed. The two candidates are Benjamin Cheney the present surveyor, & Bryan Hellen formerly deputy of Colo. Easton the former surveyor, on whose death, in 1802, Mr Cheney was appointed. At that time Cheney & Hellen were candidates for the office of surveyor, & Cheney was appointed on the recommendation of Mr Spaight which remains in your hands. Mr Stanley had recommended both. The recommendation then made in favor of Hellen is now transmitted underlined Old. At present Mr Cheney applies for the new office as a matter of course, and sends no recommendations. Mr Hellen sends very strong recommendations. The papers are all enclosed for your decision. From their letters Mr Hellen seems best qualified.

By the same law Easton in the district of Oxford, Maryland—and Tiverton in the district of Newport R. I. are made ports of delivery after the sd. 30th day of June next and a surveyor must be appointed for each with a salary of 200 dollars.

For the office at Easton, there are two candidates vizt. Charles Gibson and John Harwood. Their recommendations are enclosed. I presume that the first will be the object of your choice.

Each officer is to have two commissions vizt.

For Beaufort

1. Collector of the district of Beaufort

2. Inspector of the revenue for the port of Beaufort in the district of Beaufort

For Easton

1. Surveyor of the port of Easton in the district of Oxford

2. Inspector of the revenue for the port do. in the district of do.

For Tiverton

1. Surveyor of the port of Tiverton in the district of Newport

2. Inspector of the revenue for the port of do. in the district of do.

But for the office in that last port—Tiverton, I have received no recommendations; but I presume you have. You will perceive that the commissions cannot be delayed any longer. I continue very unwell or would have called on you this morning.

With respect & attachment Your obedt. Servt.

Albert Gallatin

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received from the Treasury Department and

“Collectr. & Inspector Beaufort N.C.

 Cheney & Hellen

Surveyr. & Inspectr. Easton Maryld.

 Harwood & Gibson

do. of Tiverton R.I.”

and recorded in SJL as received 11 June with notation “Collector of Beaufort & Surveyors of Easton & Tiverton.” Enclosures: (1) John Stanly to Gallatin, 15 Mch. 1802, enclosing a recommendation for Brian Hellen as surveyor signed by 15 merchants at the port of Beaufort (see Vol. 37:11n). (2) Benjamin Cheney to Gallatin, Beaufort, 1 Apr. 1803, understanding that Beaufort has been made a port of entry and that a collector is to be appointed, he, as the present surveyor, applies for the new position (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ: “Cheney Benj. to mr Gallatin. to be Collector of Beaufort N.C.”). (3) Brian Hellen to Gallatin, Beaufort, 23 Apr. 1803, applying for the collectorship at Beaufort and enclosing testimonials to his character; if appointed, he promises to discharge the duties honestly and to the best of his abilities (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Hellen Brian to be Collector of Beaufort N.C.”; probably enclosing Nos. 4, 5, and 6, below). (4) Residents of Beaufort to Gallatin, recommending Hellen as better qualified than any other to be collector of customs because as deputy for many years he has carried out all of the duties of surveyor “to the general Satisfaction of all parties”; with great pleasure they note that Hellen “has been uniformly a friend to the principles of Republican government, and Warmly attached to the present Administration” (MS in same; undated; in an unidentified hand; signed by Joel Henry, Jacob Henry, and 38 others; probably enclosed in No. 3, above). (5) Owners of vessels and residents of Beaufort, North Carolina, to Gallatin, recommending the appointment of Hellen as customs collector at the port, noting that as deputy surveyor he has been performing the duties of inspector and surveyor with “Ability and integrity”; Cheney, the present surveyor, lives a distance from Beaufort and if he receives the appointment, it will be “a mere sinecure” with the duties continuing to be performed by Hellen, his deputy; Hellen is a friend to Republican principles and “firmly attached to the present Administration” (MS in same; undated; in an unidentified hand, signed by William Fisher, Jr., and 17 others; endorsed by TJ; probably enclosed in No. 3, above). (6) Inhabitants of New Bern, North Carolina, to Gallatin, undated, recommending Hellen as collector at Beaufort because he is “a man of good moral character integrity and ability and they have confidence that the duties of this office if committed to his care will be discharged to the Satisfaction of the Government and its Citizens” (MS in same, in an unidentified hand, signed by John Stanly, bankruptcy commissioners William Blackledge and Edward Harris, and 30 others, endorsed by TJ: “Hellen Bryan to be Collectr. Beaufort,” probably enclosed in No. 3, above; Vol. 37:710; Vol. 38:644n). (7) Jacob Gibson to Gallatin, Talbot County, Maryland, undated, but encloses Nos. 8 and 9, below, recommending Charles Gibson as surveyor at the new port of delivery at Easton; Jacob Gibson identifies William Hayward as a state senator and notes that those who recommend John Harwood, the only competitor for the position, are Federalists, with the exception of one or two Republicans who did not know that Charles Gibson was applying for the position (RC in same; endorsed by TJ: “Gibson Jacob to mr Gallatin Gibson Charles to be Survr. Easton”). (8) William Hayward to Gallatin, Talbot County, 21 Apr. 1803, recommending Charles Gibson as a young man of good character with “talents and integrity fitted for the appointment” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ; enclosed in No. 7, above). (9) Joseph H. Nicholson to Gallatin, Wye House, 22 Apr. 1803, recommending Gibson, “a Democrat” of good character and “in every Respect equal” to the appointment as surveyor at Easton; he notes that John Harwood, the other applicant, is a “clever man, and would do extremly well; but he is a Federalist” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ; enclosed in No. 7, above). (10) Robert Wright to Gallatin, Chester Town, Maryland, 27 Apr. 1803, joins Joseph H. Nicholson and other Republicans at Easton in recommending Charles Gibson as surveyor; he notes that Harwood, Gibson’s competitor, “has been a pretty high toned federal” while Gibson, “always correct in his politics” is also better qualified; Wright fears that the “few republicans in office under the federal Government, and the non removal of many truly noxious to the people” will make it difficult to obtain support for the president from “some of our best friends” who object “‘that he has got the Office he wished, and that he leaves the people to be insulted by petty federal’” officers; Wright seeks the removal of one “old Tory” in his county who “is bitterly opposed to every Measure of the present Administration” and recommends the appointment of Edward Markland who would be “agreeable to the real Friends of the Administration” (RC in same; endorsed by TJ). (11) John Scott to Robert Smith, Easton, Maryland, 22 Apr. 1803, recommending John Harwood, a man of “understanding and integrity,” as surveyor at Easton; although his “politics are federal,” he is a moderate Federalist who has “never been in any other manner offensive” (RC in same, endorsed by TJ: “Harwood John. to be Surveyr Easton. John Scott to Robt. Smith”). (12) Inhabitants of Easton and Talbot County, Maryland, to Gallatin, undated, recommending John Harwood as surveyor at the newly designated port of delivery at Easton, noting that he will execute the office “with integrity and to the satisfaction of the People (MS in same; in an unidentified hand, signed by Samuel Nichols and 26 others, including merchants and traders of Easton; perhaps enclosed in No. 11, above).

law of last session: for the 3 Mch. 1803 legislation on collection districts, see U.S. Statutes at Large description begins Richard Peters, ed., The Public Statutes at Large of the United States…1789 to March 3, 1845, Boston, 1855–56, 8 vols. description ends , 2:228–9 and Augustus B. Woodward to TJ, 4 Mch.

Richard Dobbs spaight recommended Benjamin Cheney as surveyor at Beaufort in February 1802 (see Vol. 37:10). For John Stanly’s recommendation of both Cheney and Brian Hellen, see Vol. 37:10–11n. transmitted underlined old: on a scrap of paper that Gallatin sent to TJ with Enclosure No. 1, above, the Treasury secretary wrote: “Note—Mr Stanley recommendd both Mr Hellen and Mr Cheney—The last gentlemen was appointed—His recommendations are with the President——Old recommendation in favr. of Mr Hellen for office of surveyor A.G.” (MS in DNA: RG 59, LAR, 5:0244; written on address sheet to “The Secretary”; at head of text, in a clerk’s hand: “March 15. 1802, Hon John Stanley, enclosing recommendn. fav of Brian Hellen for Surveyor of Beaufort. No Carola”). Gallatin attached another note with the later, very strong recommendations for Hellen (see enclosures Nos. 3 through 6, above): “Recommendation in favor of Brian Hellen for the office of ‘Collector of the district of Beaufort’ in North Carolina, established by the law of 2d March 1803 Note A commission of inspector of the revenue for the port of Beaufort should accompany that of collector for the district.—A.G.” (MS in same, 5:0249; in Gallatin’s hand).

office in that last port—tiverton: according to SJL, TJ received two letters recommending Thomas Durfee as surveyor at Tiverton, Rhode Island. The first was from Senator Christopher Ellery, dated 28 Feb. and received by TJ the same day; the other came from Congressman Joseph Stanton, Jr., also dated 28 Feb., received by TJ on 1 Mch. Neither has been found.

Index Entries