Tompkins, Daniel D.


1807 ALS while Governor of New York to the Adjutant General of the State Militia during difficult relations with England  


Type:  Letter
Description: (1774-1825) 4th Governor of New York 1807–1817,  6th US Vice President 1817–25, died in office.

He graduated Columbia College in New York City in 1795, and in 1797 was admitted to the bar, practicing in New York City. He was a delegate to the 1801 New York State Constitutional Convention, a member of the State Assembly in 1804. He was elected to Congress but resigned before the beginning of the term to accept, at age 30, appointment as Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court, serving 1804-07.

In 1807, he defeated incumbent Governor Morgan Lewis and was Governor to 1817, reelected in 1810, 1813, and 1816. During the War of 1812, he promoted formation of a standing state military force based on select conscription. He declined appointment as Secretary of State by President Madison in 1814, accepting appointment as commander of the federal military district that included New York City. In 1815, he established a settlement along the eastern shore of Staten Island later called Tompkinsville. He built a dock along the waterfront in 1817 and began offering daily steam ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan.

Tompkins was elected Vice President with James Monroe in 1816, reelected in 1820, serving March 4, 1817-March 4, 1825. In 1820, while Vice President, he ran for Governor of New York against incumbent DeWitt Clinton and lost. In 1821, he was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention, and its president.

While Governor, Tompkins personally borrowed money with his own property as collateral when the legislature would not approve necessary funds for the War of 1812. After the War, neither the state nor Federal governments reimbursed him so he could repay his loans. Litigation did not end until 1824 at which point New York and the US government owed him $90,000, equivalent to approx. $2,579,000 today. His financial problems took a toll on his health, with Tompkins falling into alcoholism, and as Vice President at times presided over the Senate while intoxicated. He died 3 months after retiring as Vice President.

ALS while New York Governor, New York City, July 25 1807, to Militia Adjutant General Solomon Van Rensselaer in Albany. Gov. Tompkins has 50 men “anxious immediately to equip themselves and tender their services to defend their country if any emergency should require it.” Tompkins inquires as to whether uniforms are at the option of officers or dictated by the Commander in Chief. With integral address leaf and typescript.

Solomon van Vechten van Rensselaer (1774-1852) Appointed a US Army cornet 1792, promoted to captain July 1793, major January 1799, honorably discharged June 1800. He was New York Adjutant General 1801-09, 1810-11, and 1813-21, a State Militia lieutenant colonel during the War of 1812. He was a Federalist US Rep 1819-22, when he resigned. He was Albany postmaster 1822-39 & 1841-43 and a NY delegate at the Nov. 4, 1825 opening of the Erie Canal.

Written during the Napoleonic Wars, a difficult time in US-British relations. On June 22, 1807, HMS Leopard bombarded and forcibly boarded USS Chesapeake off Norfolk, Virginia in search of British navy deserters. President Jefferson responded with an embargo on all foreign trade to weaken the British economy. The embargo was extremely unpopular in New England, where the economy was heavily dependent on trade with Britain. The British economy was not strongly affected by the embargo, which proved difficult to enforce.

Condition: Very good

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