Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Peter Hagner to John C. Calhoun, 14 April 1821, enclosure no. 2 in William H. Crawford to Thomas Jefferson, 16 April 1821


Peter Hagner to John C. Calhoun

Treasury Department 3rd Auditor’s Office April 14. 1821


I have the honour to state in relation to the letter of the Honble Tho. Jefferson addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury and by you refered to this office that the suspended items in the account of the State of Virginia on the last settlement amount to $11.4987100 for which further vouchers were required, but which have not yet been rendered. No other accounts of the State have yet been forwarded to this office beyond those already settled & paid—I learnt however within a few days from Mr Selden who called at this office for the purpose that he had been appointed as Agent of the State in the place of Mr Chew, & had in his possession a number of additional claims of the State against the United States, which he would shortly exhibit; whether they are of a description to be admitted can only be known after investigation

I informed Mr Selden that they could not be immediately taken up for settlement because the Clerk who examined the former accounts was at this time occupied but that as soon as practicable they should be taken up after they were lodged in this office. The object of the present application however may in part be effected if you should so decide by making an advance on account after such investigation of the charges is made (and which can be soon done after the accounts are received) as may establish the probable amount of admissible Claims—The only obstacle to this course which presents itself to my mind is the want of a specifick appropriation

The existing balance of unexpended money for balances due to certain States does not include any for Virginia, none having been asked of Congress, but I do not think that the Claims of the other States will absorb the whole balance & it will consequently depend upon your decision whether under the circumstances any part may be applied as requested

With great respect Your obedt sert

Peter Hagner Aud

RC (ViU); in a clerk’s hand, signed by Hagner; at foot of text: “The Hon. J. C. Calhoun Secretary of War.” Tr (ViU); at head of text: “(Copy).” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 217, LSRAC).

Peter Hagner (1772–1850), civil servant, was born in Philadelphia. He attended the University of the State of Pennsylvania (later the University of Pennsylvania) in 1786 but did not graduate. Hagner was apprenticed two years later to a Philadelphia merchant. During an outbreak of yellow fever in 1793, when some federal departments moved to Trenton, New Jersey, he became a clerk in the office of the accountant of war, and he remained in that post later that year when the agency returned to Philadelphia and in 1799 when the government moved to Washington, D.C. In 1816 Hagner was promoted to additional accountant in the Department of War. A year later President James Monroe appointed him third auditor of the Treasury, a position newly created to oversee military expenditures, which he held until 1849 and in which he acquired a reputation for his strict scrutiny of government accounts. Hagner owned six slaves in 1820 and three in 1840. He died in Washington (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; NcU: Hagner Papers; Alexander B. Hagner, A Personal Narrative of the Acquaintance of My Father and Myself with Each of the Presidents of the United States [1915], 8–10; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:52, 53, 92, 93, 8:219 [30 Apr. 1816, 6 Mar. 1817, 27 Aug. 1850]; DNA: RG 29, CS, D.C., Washington, 1820–40; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 17 July 1850; gravestone inscription in Saint Anne’s Cemetery, Annapolis).

Index Entries

  • Calhoun, John Caldwell; as secretary of war search
  • Calhoun, John Caldwell; letter to, from P. Hagner search
  • Chew, John; as Va. claims agent search
  • Congress, U.S.; and debt to state of Va. search
  • Crawford, William Harris; as secretary of the treasury search
  • Hagner, Peter; as U.S. Treasury auditor search
  • Hagner, Peter; identified search
  • Hagner, Peter; letter from, to J. C. Calhoun search
  • Literary Fund; and U.S. debt to Va. search
  • Selden, Cary; as Va. claims agent search
  • United States; debt to Va. search
  • Virginia, University of; Administration and Financial Affairs; funding for search