Thomas Jefferson Papers

Samuel B. Malcom to Thomas Jefferson, 15 May 1812

From Samuel B. Malcom

State of New York. Utica. May 15. 1812


Observing that a late Law of Congress, authorizes an additional District Court of the U. S. for this State, and probably designed for the accommodation of that Section of the latter, in which I reside, I have been prevailed upon for the first time to Solicit place, and risk my Slender Talents, on the high, and responsible station of the Bench—

So many years have elapsed, Since I had the honor of your acquaintance, that it may be well for me, as an inducement to your friendly aid to State, that dureing nearly all the term of your V. P. I performed the services of P. Secretary to Mr Adams, whose confidence I remember with gratitude, and on whose continued Esteem I feel it a boast to rely—

My marriage with the youngest daughter of General Schuyler, invited me to Separate myself, from all public Services, although honored at that time with the obligeing & flattering regards of Govr Jay—The diligent pursuit of my profession as a Lawyer for many years, did not disappoint the expectations of my friends—

The beggarly business of Supplication for a Department, which I now Solicit, I am aware, is not calculated to conciliate your respect, and I am equally Sensible of my own admonitions—To render it pure, & perfectfully independent, it Should be a Voluntary gift—but modern fashion, has prostrated so much of delicacy, that a reluctant innovation on my own feelings must be made—In Saying this however, you will not I trust, imagine, that I am condescending to Seek the rounds of Governmental patronage—The President, yourself, Mr Adams & the Govr of this State will be all the personages I Shall address—From Mr Adams, you will probably Soon hear, but in the mean time, as the appointment may Soon be made, you will confer upon me an honor & a Kindness, to recommend me1 to the President, referring him for any information he may wish, to any of the old, or modern members of Congress, with whom I am acquainted—

Very Respectfully Your. Ob. Hble Sert.

Saml B Malcom

P. S It is a suggestion submitted to the Governmt that independent of Genl Hamilton, no other Individual2 of the Schuyler family, has received preferment—

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17); at foot of text: “The Late Presidt U. S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 27 May 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 30 May 1812.

Samuel Bayard Malcom (1776–1815), attorney, was a native of New York who received an A.B. degree from Columbia College (later University) in 1794. He served John Adams as private secretary for about three years before and during Adams’s presidency. Malcom joined the Saint Andrew’s Society of New York in 1798 and served as its secretary for the succeeding five years. He established a law practice in New York City by 1799, became a notary public in 1801, and was admitted the following year as a counsellor at law in New York state’s supreme court. Malcom married Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler in 1803. He closed his practice in 1806 and moved about two years later to Oneida County, New York, where he managed his wife’s properties. Malcom did not find that occupation remunerative, nor did he relish the life of a country gentleman, but his bid for a federal judgeship failed. He died at Stillwater, New York (Milton Halsey Thomas, Columbia University Officers and Alumni 1754–1857 [1936], 115; Moses M. Bagg, The Pioneers of Utica [1877], 265; Katharine Schuyler Baxter, A Godchild of Washington [1897], 438–9, 447; Constitution of the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York [1842], 45, 63; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory. New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1799], 291; [1805], 311; [1806], 255; Albany Centinel, 30 Jan. 1801; New-York Gazette and General Advertiser, 5 May 1802; New-York Evening Post, 11 May 1803; Florence A. Christoph, Schuyler Genealogy [1987–95], 1:152; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:447; Oneida Co. Will Book, 2:339–41).

The late law of congress authorizing the appointment of an additional judge to the federal court for the New York district was passed on 28 Apr. 1812 and signed by President James Madison the following day (JS description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States description ends , 5:117, 122 [28 Apr., 1 May 1812]). On 14 May Malcom sent Madison a similar letter to solicit place for the new judgeship, stating that the president would soon receive letters on his behalf from TJ, John Adams, and other “distinguished Gentlemen.” Adams’s letter recommending Malcom to Madison was dated 21 May 1812 (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:385, 405–6). Alexander hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler in 1780 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ).

1Word interlined.

2Manuscript: “Indivual.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and S. Malcom’s appointment search
  • Hamilton, Alexander (1757–1804); family of search
  • Hamilton, Elizabeth Schuyler (Alexander Hamilton’s wife) search
  • Jay, John; as governor search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Malcom, Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler (Samuel Malcom’s wife) search
  • Malcom, Samuel Bayard; identified search
  • Malcom, Samuel Bayard; letters from search
  • Malcom, Samuel Bayard; seeks federal judgeship search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Schuyler, Philip; family of search