Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Gardiner, 25 February 1801

From John Gardiner

City of Washington—Little Hotel
feby 25th. 1801


The Writer hereof left Dublin last Summer with a Cargo of Goods & Passengers bound to this City, & in Novemr. last was unfortunately stranded on Sandy Hook near New York, where he has left his Family & part of the Cargo saved—Apprehensive that he has not sufficient left to make a livelihood by keeping a store in this City, without some other means, & hearing that some of the Clerks in Public Offices were resigning he takes the liberty of solliciting as an unfortunate Stranger, from your Benevolence, a Clerkship, for the duties of which he has been fitted by a Mercantile Education—his introductory letters were to Messrs. Danl Stone & Co. Norfolk—I have the honor to be

Sir Your obedt hu Servt

John Gardiner

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); endorsed by TJ as received 26 Feb. and so recorded in SJL.

John Gardiner (d. 1839) claimed to have been the superintendent of a cotton manufactory in Ireland for several years before being shipwrecked in a transatlantic passage and settling in Washington, where he sought employment, advertising as a furniture auctioneer and keeper of a boarding and day school on Pennsylvania Avenue. By 1807, he was employed as a clerk in the land office under the Treasury Department (Allen C. Clark, “The Mayoralty of Robert Brent,” RCHS description begins Records of the Columbia Historical Society, 1895–1989 description ends , 33–34 [1932], 273–5; Cunningham, Process of Government description begins Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., The Process of Government Under Jefferson, Princeton, 1978 description ends , 328).

Among the other correspondents who wrote TJ soliciting a clerkship or offering their services were: (1) John Fleming to TJ, Washington Inn, 11 Mch. 1801, requesting TJ’s interference on his behalf for a public office “which may secure a moderate competency to a tolerable penman and accountant” (RC in DLC; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Mch. and so recorded in SJL). (2) Nathaniel W. Price to TJ, Columbia, Virginia, 12 Mch. 1801, referencing TJ’s acquaintance with his late father, Meredith Price, and brother, Alexander P. Price, formerly of the firm of Moody & Price of Milton, and noting the dissolution of Moody & Price of Richmond, of which he was copartner, asking to be placed in “a station as a clerk in some office attached to the Government” (RC in DNA: RG 59, LAR; endorsed by TJ as received 18 Mch. and so recorded in SJL). (3) Samuel Bootes to TJ, 1 Apr. 1801, “Near Rhodes’s Hotel,” applying for “a Clerk’s place in some one of the public Offices” (same; endorsed by TJ as received 9 Apr. and so recorded in SJL). (4) Francis Hoskins to TJ, Baltimore, 6 Apr. 1801, requesting a place “as a clerk in any of the Offices” (same; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Apr. and so recorded in SJL). (5) John H. Stone, former governor of Maryland, to TJ, George Town, 10 May 1801, offering his services and talents “exercised with honesty delegence & attention, for the good of the public and devoted to your administration” (same; endorsed by TJ as received 16 May and so recorded in SJL).

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