James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Foster, Jr., 21 February 1810 (Abstract)

§ From William Foster, Jr.

21 February 1810, Boston. Solicits an appointment in Spain, Portugal, Italy, or South America on the basis of his knowledge of French and Spanish and his acquaintance with several New England political figures.

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Foster”). 2 pp. The folder containing Foster’s letter also has an undated sheet bearing JM’s notation: “Wm. Foster jr. was named by Mr. Adams to the Senate who concurred; but no commission was issued. He was of the State of Massachusetts.” On the verso is Jefferson’s docket, “Foster, Wm. junr. to be Commerl. Agent Morlaix,” indicating that the sheet is misfiled. JM evidently sent this explanatory note to Jefferson in January 1802 along with a letter he had received from William Foster, Sr., inquiring about the failure of his son to receive his commission for the post of commercial agent at Morlaix to which he had been nominated by President John Adams on 18 Feb. 1801. The Jefferson administration apparently treated Foster as one of President Adams’s “midnight appointments” (William Foster, Sr., to JM, 14 Jan. 1802 (ibid., 1801–9; docketed by Jefferson as received 25 Jan. 1802; Senate Exec. Proceedings description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America (3 vols.; Washington, 1828). description ends , 1:382, 385).

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