Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James G. W. Neale, 26 August 1806

Quincy 26 Aug. 1806.


I need not tell you that I am poor; if I were not, I should be spared the disagreeable feelings I experience in commencing a beggar: My friends would be ambitious to serve me in soliciting the favour I am about to ask, which is a commission in the army.

I will not pretend to be well qualified for discharging the duties of an officer; my circumstances through life, have been too depressed to admit of a great proficiency in any thing. But, if a sacred love of country, an ambition to excell, and a prediliction for the profession are recommendations; the last has induced me to ask, the former will spur me on to acquire a competent knowledge of the military tactics, and I hope to be influenced by the first in supporting with dignity, the station to which I may be called.

I have prefered an immediate application to you, for two reasons. First. Because I had rather be obligated to one, than many. Secondly. Men of ordinary capacities are apt to attach too much importance to small favours, and I have no acquaintance among the great.

If you are inclined to notice my request, and can spare time amid the multiplicity of your concerns, you are at liberty to make what enquiries you please about my character, which you may easily do through the means of the Hon. Ebenezer Seaver, who living in an adjacent town, is no doubt, acquainted with the principle republicans of this place. Or I refer you to the Hon. John Q Adams. Not that I have any acquaintance with him, but he being a resident in Quincy, has probably heard of me; and I confide in his candour, although our political tenets are different.

I am Sir, Your Very humble Servant.

James G. W. Neale.


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