From Ezekiel Bacon
Washington City Feby 2d 1811.—
The Letters & Extracts of Letters herewith enclosed have by Genl Wilkinson been laid before the Committee appointed by the house of Representatives to enquire into his Conduct, & are deemed by him material to the Vindication of his Character.—it therefore becomes necessary that their authenticity be verified by some satisfactory Evidence—as the only practicable mode of effecting this, I am instructed by the Committee to transmit them to you for the purpose of obtaining your Declaration or Certificate whether they comport with the originals in your possession, & further whether in relation to the Extracts, they contain all those parts of the Letters from which they are extracted that can fairly apply or be material to the subject matter of this Enquiry.—
The Committee have to regret the task which this search & comparison will necessarily impose upon your time & patience. it is hoped that in the importance of the pending Enquiry both as it regards the honor of our Country & that of the Officer concerned they will find a sufficient apology for this Proceedure.
We have further to request that a return of the papers may be effected as soon as may consist with your Convenience
RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The Honl Thos Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 Mar. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.
Ezekiel Bacon (1776–1870) was born in Boston, graduated from Yale College in 1794, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1798. He was postmaster of Williamstown, 1803–07, and sat in the state legislature, 1806–07. Bacon served in the United States House of Representatives, 1807–13, chairing the Ways and Means Committee for the last two years. Initially a supporter of the Embargo, he voted for its repeal in February 1809. Bacon was chief justice of the Massachusetts Court of Common Pleas for the Western District, 1813–14, and comptroller of the United States Treasury, 1814–15. About 1816 he moved to Utica, New York, where he served as a justice of the Oneida County Court of Common Pleas, 1818–20, sat in the state legislature in 1819, served in a state constitutional convention in 1821, and ran unsuccessfully for Congress a year later (Dexter, Yale Biographies description begins Francis Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, 1885–1912, 6 vols. description ends , 5:98–103; William Barlow and David O. Powell, “Congressman Ezekiel Bacon of Massachusetts and the coming of the War of 1812,” Historical Journal of Western Massachusetts 6 [spring 1978]: 28–41; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:472 [11 Feb. 1814]).
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