Thomas Jefferson Papers
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To Thomas Jefferson from John Woodward, 7 March 1801

From John Woodward

Washington 7 March 1801

Sir,

Permit me to state to Your Excellency that being desirous to obtain an employment under the Federal Government, I have thought the present a favorable and a pleasing opportunity to make application.

The Vice President, Sir, and the Honorable A. Galatin are acquainted with my Character. And the open testimonial addressed to General Muhlenberg I beg leave, as that Gentleman is absent from this place, to present for Your Excellency’s perusal.

Should I be judged competent, Sir, and not altogether unworthy of an office in the Customs or Revenue at New York, Philadelphia or Washington, it would make me very happy. But any other designation of public appointment, which the President of the United States should direct, in any part of the Union, would be thankfully accepted.

I have the Honor to be with all Respect, Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant,

John Woodward

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); at foot of text: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Mch. and so recorded in SJL, where with a brace TJ connected this letter with one of 27 Feb. from William Barton at Lancaster (not found), probably carried to Washington by Woodward. Enclosure not found.

 

John Woodward (ca. 1742–1822), a New York merchant before the American Revolution, early joined the Whig cause serving as one of the first members of the New York City Committee of Correspondence. He fought during the Revolutionary War and served as an aide to Governor George Clinton. He lost most of his property during the Revolution. Woodward worked in Philadelphia as a Treasury Department clerk in 1792, but was forced to leave the next year after publishing a newspaper article in favor of the French Revolution. He later became a clerk in the Pennsylvania comptroller-general’s office at Lancaster, a position he held in 1803. Writing from Lancaster, James Trimble described Woodward as a “Gentleman of some talents, a good Democratic Republican, and an honest Man.” Woodward married Ann Silvester. By 1801 their son, Augustus Brevoort Woodward, was a prominent attorney in the District of Columbia and an acquaintance of TJ (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, New York and Oxford, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , 23:821–3; Frank B. Woodford, Mr. Jefferson’s Disciple: A Life of Justice Woodward [East Lansing, Mich., 1953], 98; Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 11:392; 13:466; Public Papers of George Clinton: First Governor of New York, 10 vols. [New York, 1899–1914], 8:295; Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 4:656, 668–9; 8:672; Bryan to TJ, 26 Feb. 1801).

Acquainted with my character: on 9 Mch., the day before he returned to Lancaster, where he was probably already employed as a clerk in the state government, Woodward wrote Albert Gallatin a letter in which he outlined his career (Woodward to Gallatin, 9 Mch. 1801, in Gallatin, Papers description begins Carl E. Prince and Helene E. Fineman, eds., The Papers of Albert Gallatin, microfilm edition in 46 reels, Philadelphia, 1969, and Supplement, Barbara B. Oberg, ed., reels 47–51, Wilmington, Del., 1985 description ends , 4:668–9). On his trip to Washington he brought Gallatin a letter of introduction from Samuel Bryan. He also delivered documents from Bryan to the president (same, 4:653, 701–2).

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