James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Taylor, Jr., 11 January 1797

From George Taylor, Jr.

Philadelphia 11 January 1797.

Dear sir,

Being prevented by excessive hurry of Business at the office, from waiting on you in person, I take the liberty of reminding, you by a few lines, of my unpleasant situation as to salary being the same as it was when I last troubled you on the subject.1 I need not mention or urge to a gentleman of your independent Character, how irksome it must be to a feeling mind to be totally dependent on the Head of a Department for fixing the quantum of salary which he shall receive. On looking over Brown’s paper of this evening I observe that the assistant Post Master General is classed with the Heads of Departments in the Report of the Committee on Compensations.2 On a former occasion you endeavored to have me thrown into that Class, but it was then objected that I was not a commissioned officer. Now as this is the case with the assistant Post Master and I believe with some others, and as very good reasons might be assigned for placing me, on a different footing from the other Chief Clerks, would it not give a pretext for renewing the attempt? It is now upwards of eleven years since I entered the office of State and I have never been allowed even a decent support for myself and family.3

Pardon this freedom, and believe me to be with the most perfect respect and attachment Dear sir, Your most obt. servant

Geo: Taylor Jr:

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

2Taylor was referring to the report in the Philadelphia Gazette of 11 Jan. on the congressional proceedings of 9 Jan. 1797, during which the House received a report recommending a salary increase of 25 percent for several department heads, including the assistant postmaster (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 4th Cong., 2d sess., 1824–25).

3On 3 Mar. 1797 Congress approved the extension of the act of 30 May 1796 for the compensation of clerks to 1 Jan. 1798. This, in effect, granted an additional $200 for salaries in the Department of State, to be allocated at the discretion of the secretary of state (U.S. Statutes at Large description begins The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America … (17 vols.; Boston, 1848–73). description ends , 1:517).

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