Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Armstrong, 30 April 1805

April 1805

The Petition of the undersigned, Merchants and Traders in the State of Kentucky—

Respectfully sheweth

That a Petition some time past was presented to Gidion Granger Esquire Post master General of the United States Stating, that “In the arrangement of postoffices in the State of Kentucky, accident we presume has placed the office of distribution in the town of Washington in the County of Mason. By this arrangment the first important point at Maysville is passed, and a return mail becomes necessary to enable the inhabitants and others of the vicinity of that place to receive their letters; this inconvenience is also felt by Merchants whose business is to transact there; as a place of deposit and trade we conceive Maysville entitled to the preference, as its importance as a place of import & export is rapidly increasing, and it being situate on the bank of the ohio, it is the great passway to the South westward both by land and Water—The situation of this place would appear to mark it out as the most eligible place for the office of distribution”—We do not presume to charge the head of this department with willful intention to injure the Petitioners, but, from his reply, we are contstrained to argue a want of information; he says, the inconveniences the Merchants of Maysville labour under are not greater than of those in the Precincts of Philadelphia; we are not disposed to question his assertion, because the term will admit of great latitude, but, we know of no City in the United States, where the merchants are obliged to send four and a half miles for their Letters, It is true the Post master General has assured us, he had ordered the offices at Philadelphia Baltimore & Chambersburg to mail districatly for Maysville, but, experience has informed, that even this care of his has proved not to answer his expectations—it is indeed agrivating the evil, because, we have communication with almost every post office in the Union; and in those particularised offices they sometimes neglect to mail for Maysville. In this precarious situation those transacting business at Maysville, are obliged to send to Washington, when an expected communication is not found in this office. It has happened that letters of information to agents here have remained in the office at Washington, when the boats containing the consignment were unloading and in consequence the Consignor was obliged to bear the additional charge of Storage, when the Waggons to transport his goods ought to have been prepared to take them to their destination. It is urged that Maysville is too unimportant a place at which to fix the distributing Post Office—We beg leave to say this place may be called properly the Key of the State, almost all the goods imported northward of the Cumberland River are landed here and transported by Waggons from hence; besides there have been exported from hence in One Year Ten thousand barrels of flour inspected; The Beef Pork Hemp fens Cordage Loaf Candles &c. of which no accurate estimate has been made, but may be fairly computed this year, at the value of fifteen thousand Dollars—It has been objected that if the office of distribution were placed here yet the office at Washington must select for the routs by Flemingsburg to Lexington and by Augusta to Cincinnati; we answer, Maysville is not two miles farther from Flemingsburg than Washington, and the Road by Augusta is shorter several Miles that from Washington again. In the Winter season it frequently happens that the Mail cannot be brought over the Ohio but, in a boat not large enough to carry a horse, and perhaps not for two or three hours later than the time the rider must be at Washington, in this case, all the Eastern mail must remain at Maysville until the next mail day—and the same thing opperates to detain the Southern Mail at Washington, for, if the Eastern Mail does not arrive in time, the Rider for the Southern Mail returns with it—The Post master General observed that he could not take the distributing office from Washington, because, his predecessor had fixed it there—This argument we think will not apply, because, when that arrangement took place, proper enough then, the town of Maysville was scarcely known—but, under the auspices of our Government, it has very much increased in trade and from its situation (should we have the good fortune to possess in peace the valuable acquisition of New Orleans, which your wisdom suggested) it must increase its exports very rapidly—altho the counter memorial presented to the Post master General, was swelled with the names of persons many of whom has perhaps never received, nor will receive a Letter through the medium of the Post Office, it has had the effect to prevent his granting a removal of the office, but as Merchants & traders, we respectfully suggest that, we are more interested, and pay more to the establishment than any other class of Citizens

We respectfully submit to the President those matters of fact—hoping that he will order us that redress which we have hitherto asked for in vain—and as in duty bound we shall ever pray &c

Merchants and Traders, Maysville

John Hittler

John Brown

James Wilson

Charles Gallagher

George Gallagher

Gdon. Martin

Josiah Lane

Tho. Haughy

William Armstrong

John Armstrong

Sanford Carrell

Elijah Martin

Wm. Coulter

Jos. B. Seibert

Jacob Boone

Merchants and Traders residing at Lexington Ky.

Wm. Jordan & Co

Curtis Field

Heny. Purviance

Thomas January

Sam January

George Trotter

Saml. & Geo. Trotter

Ely: McCraig

Maccount Tilford

Geo. Andenore

Saml Downing

Lewis Sanders

Leavy T. Gatewood

Brook & Craysdale

Joseph Hudson

Charles Wilkins

Willm. Henry

Alexr. Parker

Jos. Gray

Tho. Deyr Owings

Francis Ratliff

Merchts Frankfort

Dudley P. Wollere

James P. Murray

George Green

Clarke V. Anderson

Wm. McBride

John Younger

Ad. Caburie

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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