Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Calvin Chaddock, 26 September 1803

From Calvin Chaddock

Rochester Sept. 26, 1803

May it please your excellency,

permit a Stranger to address you on a subject, though disagreeable in itself yet necessary for the public good. You very well know that Edward Pope Esqr. of Newbedford in the County of Bristol and Commonwealth of Massachusetts now holds the office of the custom-house for that District. This is to inform your Excellency, that he is a Sworn enemy to the present administration of the federal Government; That he is negligent with respect to the laws of the United States, and inattentive to the duties of his office. The truth of which the following circumstance will evince. Samuel Rodman of Newbedford fitted out a ship a few days since for Europe, sent his Captain to Mr Pope for a role de equipage, Mr Pope told the Capt. it was totally unnecessary1 as no existing treaties between this and foreign nations requird it, and refused to give one. The same day a vessel from South-Carolina enterd at Newbedford the Capt. of which repaird to the Custom house office and among his other papers presented his Role de equipage, after seeing this Mr Pope went on to examine the laws of the Unitd States and among them found one of the last Cession of Congress which requird such a paper. Tho he had been in possession of the law thus long, Yet he was so inattentive to the laws of his Country, that he knew nothing of it, and has cleared a number of vessels for Europe without, and thereby exposd the property to capture. The above I had from Mr Rodman the owner and a decided Federalist, and one of the most respectable characters in Newbedford. Besides a number of other pieces of misconduct which might be brought forward if necessary. This is therefore to pray your Excellency to remove the said Edward Pope from the office of the customs and supply his place with a better man. That your Excellency, may obtain some information of the character who now presumes to address you, please to enquire of Mr Lincoln The Atorney General, who knows my character and that of my family. My Father resides in the Town of Oakhem in the same county with the Atorney General. Besides Mr. Lemuel Williams of Newbedford a member of the house of representives of the national Government, likewise of Mr Bishop of Rehoboth another member, who I beleive is acquainted with my character tho not with my person.—

And as Mr Pope and myself are on good terms as Neighbours, tho opposite in politics therefore I wish your Excellency, to make use of my name no farther than necessary on this business. I will only add that I will be responsable for what I have here said with respect to Mr Pope.

I am with every Sentiment of esteem Your Excellencys sincere friend & very humble Servt.

Calvin Chaddock A:M:

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); addressed: “To Thomas Jefferson President of the United States Washington City” and “By the Politeness of the Hon. Phanuel Bishop”; endorsed by TJ as received 13 Oct. and “Pope Edwd. Collector of New Bedford to be removd” and so recorded in SJL; also noted by TJ “enquire of mr Lincoln & mr Bishop” and, in pencil, “do nothing unless further [application] be [made?].”

Son of Captain Joseph and Sara Bruce Chaddock of Oakham, Massachusetts, Calvin Chaddock (1765-1823) graduated from Dartmouth in 1791 and three years later earned a Master of Arts degree from the college. In 1792, he married Meletiah Nye of Oakham. He became pastor of a Congregational parish in Rochester, Massachusetts, the next year, and in 1798 he opened an academy for the instruction of youth of both sexes. By 1804, he had “a respectable number of Students from different parts of the United States.” A firm and active Republican, Chaddock represented Rochester in the state house of representatives in 1806. That year, he became pastor of a congregation in Hanover, Massachusetts. He founded and served as the principal teacher at Hanover Academy from 1808 until he was dismissed from his parish in 1818. He spent a short time in Marietta, Ohio, before settling in Charleston, now in West Virginia (Medley or Newbedford Marine Journal, 22 Dec. 1792, 18 Oct. 1793, 7 Sep. 1798; Boston American Apollo, 11 Sep. 1794; Massachusetts Spy, or Worcester Gazette, 26 Dec. 1798; New Bedford Columbian Courier, 9 Oct. 1799, 28 Sep. 1804; Pittsfield Sun; or, Republican Monitor, 21 June 1806; New-Bedford Mercury, 4 July 1823; David B. Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Letterpress Edition, New York, 1892-99, 10 vols. description ends History of Hanover Academy [Boston, 1899], 9-14; Nathan Willis and others to Gallatin, 3 June, and Samuel Sprague to Gallatin, 22 June 1804, both in DNA: RG 59, LAR).

Heeding the recommendation of Massachusetts congressman George Leonard, Washington appointed edward pope collector at New Bedford when the customs service was organized in August 1789. After his appointment, Pope continued to operate his general store on the waterfront and to serve as a county court judge. Active in local politics, he appointed only Federalists to office in his district (Washington, Papers, Pres. Ser., 3:300-1; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 9, 13; Carl E. Prince, The Federalists and the Origins of the U.S. Civil Service, [New York, 1977], 24-5, 40).

role de equipage: according to the first section of the 28 Feb. 1803 act for the “further protection of American seamen,” masters of ships bound for foreign ports were to provide collectors with a list and description of the persons who composed the “ship’s company.” The collector then certified and returned the list. According to instructions sent by the Treasury secretary in July 1803, the collectors were to provide the captain with a separate, certified list of seamen on board who were citizens of the United States. The law also called for masters of U.S. vessels to carry a ship’s register, sea letter, and Mediterranean passport to be deposited with the U.S. consul or other official on arrival at a foreign port (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 , 2:203; Gallatin to TJ, 6 July 1803).

1MS: “unnessary.”

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