Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Cooke, 13 May 1801

From William Cooke

Charleston May 13th 1801.

If the above recommendation is such as entitles the Subscriber to the Notice & Confidence of the President of the United States,—He begs leave to inform him; that he now makes an offer of his Services to his Country.—He laments that they were once solicited, when it was not in his power to afford them.—Should they again be thought of—they will be afforded Zealously & faithfully.—with every sentiment of respect for your Person, & wish for the happiness & prosperity of your administration, I remain most respectfully

Your Mo. obedt. Servant

Wm: Cooke

RC (DNA: RG 59, LAR); subjoined to printed text and signatures (see below); endorsed by TJ as received 26 May and so recorded in SJL with notation “Off.”

William Cooke, a merchant with business interests in South Carolina and Georgia, made several unsuccessful attempts to secure a federal appointment during the TJ and Madison administrations, seeking posts in Louisiana and Brazil (Cooke to James Madison, 6 Nov. 1803, in DNA: RG 59, LAR; Madison, Papers, Pres. Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1984–, 5 vols. description ends , 4:587–8).

The above recommendation: Cooke wrote his letter to TJ at the bottom of a printed letter of recommendation dated 3 Feb. 1797 and signed by 31 merchants of Savannah, Georgia. The signers stated that Cooke was about to leave their city and they recommended him as “a man of honor and integrity” and as someone possessed of “very extensive, and good Mercantile information.” They concluded by noting that should Cooke be appointed “to the superintendence and protection of our Commercial rights and privileges, in any foreign port; we have no doubt, but he will aquit himself as a man of abilities and integrity, and prove a useful Citizen to his country.”

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