Troy. 23d February 1790.
From the friendship you have always expressed for me I am led to acquaint you with some circumstances in which I am interested & to request your advice & assistance—Pardon me this liberty, which I should not have taken, had not my situation required it, & but from a reliance on the same good nature to which I am already so much indebted.—
The speculation I am upon here does answer my expectations & wishes, and I am induced to look elsewhere an establishment—Without a capital it is extremely difficult to carry on business to advantage; and this, through the misfortunes of my father, I am denied the benefit of—I must therefore seek that employment, which requires the least capital, & which is more within the compass of my own abilities. From these circumstances I have turned my thoughts to a public life again, & if favored with your assistance may hope to succeed. Mr: Jefferson is appointed to the office of Secretary of State. The office of his first Secretary is an appointment in his gift, & one to which I am vain enough to think myself not unequal.—Being a stranger to Mr: Jefferson, I have to request your friendship to speak in my behalf—You have intrusted me with confidential matters, and I trust have never found me unfaithfull—Whatever in your good nature you may please to advance in my favor shall serve as a stimulus to merit Mr: Jefferson’s esteem and confidence, and particularly to approve myself deserving your recommendation—Since there will doubtless be many to seek this place, I would request you to write Mr: Jefferson on the subject when convenient—in order that, should he accept my services, I may be made acquainted with the result—timely enough to make the necessary arrangements requisite on my leaving this place.—
To be employed in a place of trust is extremely flattering to me, and to be admitted to the confidence of & habits of intimacy with Mr: Jefferson would greatly add thereto. I have therefore to request information of you on what footing his Secretary stands, and what allowance Congress has made for him—.
I am fearfull you may term my application improper, a recommendation is a delicate matter—But, Sir, this is between friends, this is not seeking honor & emolument. And, if it does not meet your approbation, may be checked, in deference to your opinion, which I shall at all times respect.
Having explained myself thus openly, be pleased to communicate to me your candid thoughts in return. [. . .] greatly oblige me.—and in the meantime [. . .] then that this matter remain a secret between [. . .]
With respects to the family, I have the honor to be, dr. Sir / Your much obliged friend / & humle Servt.
MHi: Adams Papers.