James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Tristram Dalton, 26 May 1814

From Tristram Dalton

Salem May 26th. 1814


Under date of the 23d Ult. I took the liberty of trespassing on your time, respecting my personal concerns. Since that day I have exerted myself to procure Bondsmen as Collector of the Revenue—but in vain. I have informed the Commissioner of the Revenue that I despair finding sureties. In consequence of a Successor’s being appointed, it is my sincere wish that it may not be done under the idea of a removal, but of a resignation.

Presuming, perhaps too much, upon your many kindnesses, already received, it may be deemed officious to request the favour of my being considered a Candidate for the Post Office in this Town, being informed that a Change will be soon made.1

Through the Post Master General, my name may be presented to you, as I have written to him on the subject.

The distresses which would follow my being out of Office, I pray, may plead an excuse for naming this Office; for the performance of the duties of it I could procure Sureties immediately, and discharge them with ease to myself. In it, I should feel happy as long as I retain my senses, my heart beating with gratitude while I live for the many instances of real Favour already experienced.2 With the highest respect I am Sir Your obliged and most obedient Servant

Tristram Dalton


1Joseph E. Sprague replaced John Dabney as postmaster of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1815 (William Leavitt, “History of the Essex Lodge of Freemasons,” Historical Collections of the Essex Institute 3 [1861]: 174; William T. Davis, Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [2 vols.; Boston, 1895], 2:203).

2In the fall of 1814 Dalton was appointed surveyor and inspector of the revenue for the port of Boston (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 2:573–74, 578–79).

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