Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Rawlings, 14 November 1803

From Benjamin Rawlings

Washington Novr 14th, 1803.


Being desirous of an employment under the present Administration of my Country, induced me to obtain the enclosed letters, from your respected Son in Law Thos M, Randolph and Wilson C, Nicholas Esqrs.—These letters although they speak of my connexions as respectable, could mention myself only when a minor; and therefore in your opinion, I fear, may not be deemed sufficient to prove, that either my character or Politic’s deserves your confidence.—Since that period, (say for about ten years) my pursuits in life have obliged me to travel over many parts of America, the West Indies and to Europe, and therefore, has given me but little opportunity of making Political friends, who have the pleasure of your personal acquaintance: although I have always been truely a Republican, as can be vouched for by many now in this City, who have known me for some years.—

If Certificates from Merchants of respectability in Baltimore (I having resided principally there since my return from Europe,) will suffice to shew my respectability or Politic’s, they shall be laid before you without [. . .]

I do not know that my informing you, I am step Son to Mr Nathaniel Anderson of Albemarle County Virginia, who has the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, will avail me much, yet, I hope, it may induce a further confidence.—

The Office I have contemplated requesting of you, the honor of being appointed to, is, either Naval Officer, or, Inspector of the Port at New Orleans:—one of these I should prefer, yet shall feel myself much honored by any other there, or elsewhere, which you may be pleased to confer.—

After beging pardon for taking up so much of your useful time, I am, With the highest respect, Yr Mt Obt Sert

Benj: L, Rawlings

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); torn; endorsed by TJ as received 15 Nov. and “for Naval officer or Inspector. N. Orleans” and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Thomas Mann Randolph to TJ, 27 Oct. 1803. (2) Wilson Cary Nicholas to TJ, 29 Oct. 1803.

A native of Virginia, Benjamin Rawlings had written TJ in 1801 seeking a consular appointment, preferably to the island of Guadeloupe. His stepfather, Nathaniel Anderson, had also written on his behalf. He did not receive an appointment from TJ (William B. Magruder, An Answer to Mr. John Bannatyne’s Defence of the Conduct of Messrs. Findlay, Bannatyne, and Company, of the City of London, in their Commercial Transactions with William B. Magruder of the City of Baltimore [Baltimore, 1802], 31; Baltimore Evening Post, 28 Nov. 1792; Vol. 33:266-7).

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