November 29th 1806.
Highly honored Sir,
You will, I presume, think it strange to be addressed by a stranger, & a person in my situation (of which you will Know in the sequel) On the subject I am about to proceed—
I am the oldest son of parents of a respectable Lineage. My father’s prospects at my birth, (in 1786) were very flattering; I was, therefore, put early to school—at which place I continued until I arrived to my eighteenth year, when the Old gentleman’s circumstances appeared to have undergone a considerable change—and not for the better—owing to the unkindness of fortune in trading to New-Orleans. At, or about this time I was taken home; & it became essential that I should labor for the sustenance of myself & father’s family—This I did with the greatest cheerfulness; determined (if possible) to repair (so far as I could) the repeated hopes my father had sustained; when, unfortunately, an accident happened that tended to impose all hopes of our accomplishing in any the most superficial manner the reparation above alluded to! I have my shoulder dislocated, which rendered, & does still render me incapable of any kind of bodily labor.
Now, Sir, under these circumstances I have thought proper to make application to You for a pittance—
Not supplicating anything, but what you shall, in time, be amply recompensed for, should fortune prove propitious.
My inclination leads me to the study of Law: but Poverty is prohibiting.
I therefore wish to borrow of you the sum of two hundred dollars, which will (by using economy &c) be sufficient to effect my inclination Should I be so fortunate, as to meet with your approbation in the above request, you may rest assured that the principal with legal interest shall be honorably returned; for do not suppoze, Sir, that I would ask it as a gift.
In making the above demand I do not believe that I exceed the dictates of reason; and should you acquiesce thereto, I do not believe that You would exceed those of right!—
I have the honor to be, Sir, with every sentiment of respect Yours &c
James J. Dozier
P.S. Should you see proper to afford the Aid required You can remit in Bank notes inclosed in a letter directed to me in Mountsterling K.Y.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.