Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Richard Harrison to Henry Williams Dwight, 10 April 1822


Richard Harrison to Henry Williams Dwight

Treasury Department Auditors Office April 10th 1822.


In answer to your letter of the 8th Inst, I have the honor to inform you that the Accounts of Thomas Jefferson Esqre, as Minister to France, were finally settled and closed at the Treasury in the Month of October 1804; but they, with all the original papers & documents appertaining thereto, were destroyed in the Registers Office by the Conflagration of the public buildings in the Summer of 1814; and, owing to that occurrence, I cannot be so particular as I might otherwise be.

The Records of my own Office, however, enable me to state that, in the course of examination, I discovered that among his other bills on the Bankers of the United States at Amsterdam, Mr Jefferson had credited one dated October 21. 1789 for Guilders 2870, which had never been paid, or at least never charged to the United States, by the said Bankers. Although I had some reason at the time to suppose this bill had not been used by his agent, yet as it was still possible that it might have been negotiated, I deemed it my duty to hold Mr Jefferson accountable, and accordingly brought the amount to his debit provisionally; that is, without passing a corresponding Credit in favor of the Bankers, or any one else; and keeping the subject open for ulterior decision. Thus the matter rested untill the Month of March 1809, when, no claimant appearing, or being likely to appear (in fact none has appeared even to this day) and believing Mr Jefferson justly entitled to receive back the money with which he had been charged, but never paid, by the United States, I could no longer feel myself justified in the delay of an official act necessary to his Reimbursement. For your further satisfaction I inclose Copies of the Statement & Certificate on which the Repayment was made.

I have the honor to be, with great Respect,

Sir Your obed. Servt

(Signed) R. Harrison

Tr (DLC); in Harrison’s hand; at head of text: “(Copy)”; at foot of text: “The Honble Mr Dwight Chairman of the Commtee on public Expenditures, House of Representatives”; docketed as a “Copy of a Letter from the Auditor of the Treasury to the Chairman of the Commee on public Expenditures”; endorsed by TJ: “Harrison R. to Dwight.” Tr (DLC).

Henry Williams Dwight (1788–1845), attorney and public official, was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1809, and established a legal practice in his hometown. After serving as an aide with the rank of colonel during the War of 1812, Dwight sat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1818–19, received an honorary master’s degree from Williams College in 1822, and was on that institution’s board of trustees, 1829–37. He was also a member of the United States House of Representatives, 1821–31. A Federalist and later an adversary of Andrew Jackson, he opposed slavery and supported the policy of Indian removal. In addition to a final term in the Massachusetts House in 1834, Dwight devoted much of his time after leaving Congress to breeding livestock and, as a recovering alcoholic, lecturing on the evils of intemperance. He died suddenly “from congestion of the brain and bowels” while visiting New York City (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–Present, online resource, Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives description ends ; Benjamin W. Dwight, The History of the Descendants of John Dwight, of Dedham, Mass. [1874], 2:752–3; General Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Williams College [1920], 9, 186; Pittsfield [Mass.] Sun, 13 May 1818, 12 Sept. 1822, 14 Nov. 1833; Barre [Mass.] Patriot, 7 Mar. 1845; gravestone inscription in Stockbridge Cemetery, Stockbridge).

the bankers of the united states at amsterdam: Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard. TJ’s agent was Ferdinand Grand, of the Parisian firm of Grand & Compagnie.

Index Entries

  • Dwight, Henry Williams; and settlement of TJ’s account search
  • Dwight, Henry Williams; identified search
  • Dwight, Henry Williams; letter to, from R. Harrison search
  • Grand, Ferdinand; as banker search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); and settlement of TJ’s account search
  • Harrison, Richard (auditor of the treasury); letter from, to H. W. Dwight search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; Register’s Office search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • Washington, D.C.; British destruction in search
  • Willink, Van Staphorst & Hubbard (Amsterdam firm) search