Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Alexander J. Dallas, 20 October 1816

To Alexander J. Dallas

Monticello Oct. 20. 16.

Dear Sir

On the establishment of the offices of Assessor & Collector of the land tax, the first being all-important to us, I recommended, on a consultation with others a mr Peter Minor for it: but the office of Collector being given to an inhabitant of this county the principle of geographical distribution prevailed for the other1 in favor of a mr Armistead. the present Collector now resigning I wish to recall your recollection to my letter of     1814 and to refer to a previous one written to your predecessor with the character of mr Minor which I now confirm in every point.

having made that recommendation without his knolege, and thereby turned his attention & expectations to what he had never before thought of, I feel myself in duty bound to repeat my sollicitation for his appointment to the other office now become vacant.

The office will probably be asked for by mr Southall who has acted as deputy. for integrity and capacity to execute the office he is certainly unobjectionable. the points of difference are that mr Minor has a handsome estate which secures his responsibility, while mr Southall’s will have no dependance but on that of his sureties; and again that the latter is a young lawyer, growing in fame, already having much business, and daily gaining more so that the execution of the duties must rest solely on the deputy he may appoint. Accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

P.S. I refer again to Colo Monroe’s personal knolege of mr Minor, and perhaps the President’s.

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Wilson Cary Nicholas to TJ, 30 Sept. 1816; adjacent to signature: “Alexr Dallas esq. Secy of the Treasury”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ had recommended Peter Minor for the post of land-tax assessor in a 23 Aug. 1813 letter to President James Madison. The office of collector of Virginia’s nineteenth collection district was briefly held by TJ’s son-in-law Thomas Mann Randolph early in 1814. Randolph was succeeded thereafter by his son Thomas Jefferson Randolph, the present collector (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 2:456, 461, 511, 515 [18, 21 Jan., 16, 26 Mar. 1814]; TJ to Dallas, 26 Feb. 1816 [first letter]).

TJ’s 1814 letter to Dallas concerning Minor was dated 7 Dec. No previous communication on the same subject from TJ to either of Dallas’s predecessors as secretary of the treasury, Albert Gallatin and George W. Campbell, has been found. TJ may have arrived at Minor’s name without his knolege, but he soon gained his agreement to serve if appointed (TJ to Minor, 15 Aug. 1813; Minor to TJ, 16 Aug. 1813).

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Armistead, William (of Amherst Co.); appointment of search
  • Campbell, George Washington; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Dallas, Alexander James; and appointments search
  • Dallas, Alexander James; letters to search
  • Gallatin, Albert; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation from search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and appointments search
  • Minor, Peter; and appointment of principal assessor search
  • Minor, Peter; and appointment of revenue collector search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation from TJ search
  • Randolph, Thomas Jefferson (TJ’s grandson; Jane Hollins Nicholas Randolph’s husband); as revenue collector search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); as revenue collector search
  • Southall, Valentine Wood; as revenue collector search
  • taxes; on land search