페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

The records intended for the Department Charles Thomson had had in his keeping as long as the old Congress lasted; but they were, upon his resignation, delivered to Roger Alden by order of Washington. “You will be pleased, Sir,” Washington wrote Thomson July 24, “to deliver the Books, Records and Papers of the late Congress—the Great Seal of the federal Union—and the Seal of the Admiralty, to Mr. Roger Alden, the late Deputy Secretary of Congress, who is requested to take charge of them until further directions shall be given.”*

Information of the law authorizing the new Executive Department of Foreign Affairs was conveyed by the President to the Governors of the several States July 5, and September 21 they were informed of the passage of the Act making it the Department of State. A few days later Jay was nominated to be Chief Justice and Thomas Jefferson to be Secretary of State, and both were commissioned September 26.

* Department of State MS. archives.

Jay accepted at once, but continued to discharge the duties of Secretary of State for some months. Under date of October 13, Washington informed Jefferson of his appointment, and added that “Mr. Jay had been so obliging as to continue his good offices.” Mr. Alden, he said, had the State papers and Mr. Remsen those relating immediately to foreign affairs.*

When this letter was written, Jefferson had not yet returned to America from his mission to France. Upon his arrival Jay wrote to him, December 12, congratulating him upon his appointment and recommending to him favorably "the Young gentlemen in the office.”+ Jefferson accepted the office in the following letter to the President:

Monticello Feb. 14. 1790

Sir

I have duly received the letter of the 21st of January with which you have honored me, and no longer hesitate to undertake the office to which you are pleased to call me. Your desire that I should come on as quickly as possible is a sufficient reason for me to postpone every matter of business, however pressing, which admits postponement. Still it will be the close of the ensuing week before I can get away, & then I shall have to go by the way of Richmond, which will lengthen my road. I shall not fail however to go on with all the dispatch possible nor to satisfy you, I hope, when I shall have the honor of seeing you at New York, that the circumstances which prevent my immediate departure, are not under my controul. I have now that of being with sentiments of the most perfect respect & attachment, Sir Your most obedient & most humble servant

* Department of State MS. archives. † Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, III, 381.

TH. JEFFERSON. The President of the U. S.*

FERSON.

Shortly afterwards he assumed office, the records were turned over to him, and the Department of State was fairly started in its career.

The compensation of the Secretary was fixed by the Act of September 11, 1789, at $3,500 per annum, that of the Chief Clerk at $800, and of the other clerks at not more than $500. The number of the latter was left to the Secretary's discretion, being limited, of course, by the amount of money set apart for the Department.

* Department of State MS. archives.

III.

THE NEW DEPARTMENT-DUTIES THAT ARE NO

LONGER UNDER ITS SUPERVISION.

we

W HEN Jefferson entered upon his new du

ties, he found in the Department two officials whose services under the Government had extended over a number of years. They were Roger Alden and Henry Remsen, jr. The former had been Deputy Secretary, under Thomson, to the old Congress, and, when the Department of State was created, received from Tobias Lear, Washington's Secretary, orders to retain in his possession the records and public acts, to be delivered to the Secretary of State whenever the latter should enter upon the duties of his office.* He served as Chief Clerk of the Department for a few months after Jefferson became Secretary, and in a letter dated

* Department of State MS. archives.

« 이전계속 »