Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Christian Becker, 18 April 1807

Washington City
the 18 of April 1807


The Subscriber begs your Excellency, to be so kind as to subscribe your Name upon a List of Subscribers, for a Book which is to be printed by Subscription, entitled: “Every German his own Master of the English Language, or: The German’s best Companion in the United States of North America; who teaches the Pronunciation of the English Vowels and Consonants by the Help of Numbers &c. To which are prefixed, new and easy Rules for the Pronunciation of the German Vowels and Consonants, whereby an Englishman may easily obtain the Knowledge of the German Language.” as it will be of great Benefit to him, because your Excellency’s Name will encourage the wealthy Germans to subscribe. The Subscriber entertains the Hope, that your Excellency will not decline to subscribe; as he has met with the Loss of the Whole of his Property on the Shore of this hospitable Country—as the enclosed short and credible Certificat most plainly illustrates—and is therefore very poor, and consequently destitute of Friends, Assistance and a Livelihood; which he hopes, by the Help of divine Providence, to procure by the Publishing of this very difficult Piece of Work.

The Subscriber beseeches your Excellency, to consider the deplorable Situation of a Man, who once had a comfortable Livelihood; and who is now reduced, by the Hand of Providence, to the Want of almost all Necessities of Life; and that it is at present in your Excellency’s Power, to restore in Part his former Situation; for which he most shuredly for ever remains

Your most grateful and most respectful Servant

Christian Becker

Teacher of the German Language

in the State of Pennsylvania.

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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