Baltimore October 14. 1806
I did not ‘till yesterday receive your favor of the 11th. Inst. proposing to nominate me as the Successor of Mr. Purviance. For your Goodness in offering me this appointment, permit me to return you my sincere Thanks. The manner of making the offer, and the friendly Assurances accompanying it, were most welcome to me: I cannot tell you how much I have felt them. To a Heart, warm in all its affections, nothing is so grateful as a knowledge that its attachments are not unrequited.
The Office which I now hold is, indeed a laborious one, and the Compensation totally inadequate to the Service, particularly when considered in Connection with the Place to which my Residence is confined by Law. But while it gives me Employment, it places me in one of the most honorable Stations under the Government of my native State.
The Collectors Place in Baltimore, is merely a mechanical one. I might sink a Reputation, but could never gain one. From the most faithful and zealous Discharge of its Duties, I could derive nothing more than pecuniary Emolument. I will not conceal from you, that some Circumstances, those which obliged me to withdraw from Congress, would render the increased Salary peculiarly acceptable to me, but I cannot so far subdue my Feelings, as to relinquish my present Situation for one that has not a single Inducement beyond its Emoluments.
May I ask you therefore to pardon me for declining the Appointment you have offered me, and to accept my warmest and most affectionate wishes—
Joseph H. Nicholson
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.