James Madison Papers

Memorandum to Thomas Jefferson, [15 October] 1804

Memorandum to Thomas Jefferson

[15 October 1804]

Perhaps the language may be a little more effectually guarded agst. the idea of making a sort of Stipulation the title to the appointment. All that can be effected is to strengthen his good dispositions, by his knowing that they were calculated on as a proof of his general merit, & by his committing himself for a perseverence in those dispositions, by conversations and declarations on the subject with friends whom he esteems.1

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Undated; date assigned here on the basis of Jefferson’s docket: “Departmt. State. recd. Oct. 15. 04. / my lre. of Oct. 15. to Gelston.”

1John M. Gelston wrote Jefferson on 1 Sept. 1804 reporting the death of Hore Browse Trist, collector at New Orleans, and enclosing a recommendation of deputy collector William Brown signed by a number of local citizens. Jefferson replied that although others were both interested in and qualified for a position that was “among the most valuable offices in the gift of the US.,” Brown’s connection with the late collector’s family (he was Trist’s brother-in-law) and his presumed willingness to contribute to their support might make him a more eligible candidate for the post. He asked Gelston to request assurances on this point from Brown, who presumably supplied them, as he was named collector on 13 Nov. 1804 (Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:289–90; Jefferson to Gelston, 15 Oct. 1804, DLC: Jefferson Papers; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1828). description ends , 1:473). For JM and Jefferson’s friendship with Trist’s family, see PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (5 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 2:424–26.

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