Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Frederick Jordy to Thomas Jefferson, 11 October 1813

From Frederick Jordy

New Orleans 11h octobr 1813

Dr Sir

It is with extreme reluctance I trouble you with these lines; I never yet applied to any living being for aid, whilst I could by dint of industry & the help of my talents work my way through the world: neither should I have resorted to this means now, were it not for the sake of my family. the height of Political intolerance made me quit Boston in the fall of 1807 (I had been teaching french there since 1801) possessing a Small Capital the fruit of 15 years close application, I ventured to remove to kentuckey in hopes there to bring up my children in the bosom of peace & plenty. the misfortunes of the times, false friends robbed me of the means of executing my plan; anxious for the wellfare of my young family; I removed to Natchez in 1811 there all my attempts proved abortive in consequence of bad crops, & the war which soon broke out. hither I have removed in hopes a great town, a Numerous population would enable me to rise again, by exerting all my talents, this is my last stake, but I fear I shall Draw a frightful blank. To you Sir I venture to address my self: If it be in your power to relieve from impending want, a father of a family, a man who never deserved the frowns of fortune, Through misconduct; lend a helping hand! to a man of your discernement Six hours conversation must have been sufficient to appreciate my merit, when I was at your house during the summer of 1799. Had I had the honor of being Personally Acquainted with Mr Maddison, I should have taken the liberty of applying to him, but being an utter stranger to that great man I thought an application to you would be more proper, & could not fail of having the desired effect If I had the good fortune of interesting you in my favor.

I now Inhabit a Portion of the union, where a good Citizen, master of the different languages that are spoken here, may be most advantageously employed, & at no time more effectually so as, at present, when the minds of many are alienated by the pressure of privations incident to a necessary war & the machinations of an insidious foe. If you Judge me Competent Sir to afford the least aid to government, I dare request your recommendation, it will not fail of having the good effect it so fully deserves.

If I was yet young & unincumberd with a family; I should prefer entering the Army but at forty Eight it is time for a man to seek the shades of retirement; Especially when his feeble means, compel him to attend to the Education of his children.

with Ardent wishes for your Happiness

I have the Honor to be Dr Sir with sentiments of the most Profound Respect your Very obedient & Humble Servant

Fred Jordy

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Nov. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Frederick Jordy (Jordis) (born ca. 1765), language instructor, was described in one source as “a German.” During the 1790s he lived in Salem, Massachusetts, where he reportedly taught French to Nathaniel Bowditch in exchange for instruction in English from the latter. Jordy served as a secretary to the French consul at Boston in 1798 and taught and translated French and German in that city and its environs from about 1801 until at least 1807. He then moved successively to Kentucky, to Natchez, and to New Orleans. In 1814 he asked General Andrew Jackson to help him obtain an appointment at the New Orleans customhouse. Twelve years later Jordy advertised an evening school to teach French and English to New Orleans residents (Salem Gazette, 8 Oct. 1793, 24 May 1796; Henry I. Bowditch, Memoir of Nathaniel Bowditch: prepared for the young [1841], 22–3; The Boston Directory [Boston, 1798], 71; [1805], 76; [1807], 97; Salem Impartial Register, 5 Jan. 1801; Boston Columbian Centinel & Massachusetts Federalist, 24 Sept. 1803; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 7 vols. description ends , 3:457; New Orleans Louisiana Advertiser, 16 Oct. 1826).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Jordy, Frederick; identified search
  • Jordy, Frederick; letters from search
  • Jordy, Frederick; requests aid from TJ search
  • Jordy, Frederick; visits Monticello search
  • Madison, James; and appointments search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Jordy, Frederick search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search