Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Miles Cary, 23 June 1790

To Miles Cary

New York June 23. 1790.


I duly received your favor of Apr. 23. and should have been very happy to have served you by an appointment to a clerkship as you desired; but that I found the offices full, and made it a point not to remove those who were in possession. So that I have not had one single appointment to make. Indeed these posts are so little lucrative that they are hardly worth a gentleman’s coming for from any distance. 500. dollars a year to a person who is to board and lodge himself and to do much drudgery in writing is very scanty in a city. I am with great esteem Sir Your most humble servt.,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC).

Cary, who described himself as perfectly unknown but as one ready to produce “Letters introductory and recommendatory from gentlemen the most eminent for their ranks and abilities in this State,” applied for a clerkship in a letter to TJ of 27 (not 23) Apr. 1790. He wrote in part: “As I am satisfied that you would wish to be made acquainted with the education and manner of bringing up of such persons as you may wish to employ, permit me to inform you, that my education hath been Classical, and that I am tolerably conversant in the French Language. I have been bred to the Law under the Honble. Mr. Wythe of this State and have been examined and regularly licensed to practice as an attorney. The hope of considerable wages is not my inducement to offer my services as I am in some measure independent, therefore whatever terms may be offered by you I have no doubt I shall accede to; but as I am induced to believe the duties of your office will be such as are the most consistant with my own wishes, and such as I hope I may be able to give satisfaction in, permit me to hope if the offices are not preoccupied, that I may be engaged, if not permanently, during your own pleasure” (RC in DLC: Applications for Office Under Washington; endorsed by TJ as received 6 May 1790 and so recorded in SJL).

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