Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from P. R. Randall, 11 March 1790

From P. R. Randall

New York, 11 Mch. 1790. Congratulates TJ on arrival to his “native home and the accession to the office of State.” Since he was “in a great measure introduced by yourself into the employment of my country, and being flattered from the confidential manner in which I was engaged, it may not be too great presumption in wishing to be continued in its service.” He is well aware of the numerous applications but trusts “that priority can have no weight in that respect, nor even recommendations where you can otherwise judge.” He will readily acquiesce in whatever preference TJ gives to others, without troubling him or his friends “with recommendatory letters or other partial documents.”—He has presented a memorial to the president soliciting foreign employment and he requests TJ’s patronage on that.—“I may perhaps, Sir, remain in the shade, from the failure of the Algerine legation—have I any claim to your evidence, in wishing to remove from myself all the odium of that ill-executed enterprize.” He has given some attention to French and Spanish. Hopes TJ will receive him “into the office of state, or afford me the power of rendering my services to my country either at home or abroad.”

RC (DLC: Applications for Office under Washington); addressed: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esquire, Secretary of State” endorsed as received 10 Mch. 1790 and so recorded in SJL.

TJ evidently gave an interview to Randall on arriving in New York, intimating that he might be given a consular appointment. On 10 May 1790 Randall wrote TJ that he would consider with the “highest satisfaction” any employment that would enable him to reside in Europe even if he derived “a mere subsistence from it,” which he thought every public office should afford, but that he could “not by any means accept an office without any Emolument whatsoever.” He added that his object was not honor alone, much less to make a fortune from the public treasury, but he would “much rather prefer Occupation to Dissipation” (RC in same; endorsed as received 10 May 1790 and so recorded in SJL). On 26 Aug. 1790 Randall, on being informed of a vacancy in TJ’s office to which he had offered himself as a candidate, renewed the application (RC in same; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Aug. 1790, and so recorded in SJL). On 12 Nov. 1790 he wrote again, confessing himself “somewhat anxious to receive your answer relative to my last application upon your departure from New-York,” but his fear of importuning TJ caused him to forego giving further trouble: this last essay was more to relieve himself from suspense than to urge his claim (RC in same; endorsed as received 24 Nov. 1790 and so recorded in SJL). It accomplished this object at once (see TJ to Randall, 25 Nov. 1790).

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