Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert W. Cosbrough, 9 April 1803

From Robert W. Cosbrough

George Town 9th. April 1803


The peculiar situation in which I stand at this Period, is the only apology I can offer for such an intrusion, as the present—Your own sensibility will conceive it such, when I can assure you Sir that I came into this Country in 1794 & prior to the last twelve Months, was so successful as a Broker in N. York, that I gain’d a little Fortune of about $12,000. all of which, in consequence of misfortune in Trade I have been deprived of & am at this Moment, with a Wife & Child & not a Dollar for their, or my own support.

I have been in habits of Friendship and intimacy for some years with The Hon’ble De Witt Clinton, Mr. Le Fevre of the City, & the Hon’ble Mr. Galatins, Father in Law, to whom I can refer for the truth of this assertion.

The purport therefore, Sir, of my thus addressing you, is, that I have an humble hope, you’ll please take into Consideration my present necessity, & if there is a Vacancy in any of the Public Offices, not otherwise promised, should you think me deserving the most subordinate, as a Clerk therein, you will have the goodness to recommend me—It will tend to the relief of a mind laboring for some time under the pressure of misfortune, & “now deprived of every thing save” this “last hope”—

I am Sir With all possible respect Your very Obedt. St.

R. W. Cosbrough

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 9 Apr. and “for office” and so recorded in SJL.

Robert W. Cosbrough was listed as an accountant in the New York City directory printed in 1797 and subsequently as a broker. He was last listed in the directory printed in 1802 (Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory, for the Twenty-Second Year of American Independence [New York, 1797], 153; Longworth’s City Directory [New York, 1799], 196; Longworth’s City Directory [New York, 1802], 176).

Albert Gallatin’s father in law was James Nicholson, a Republican leader in New York City (Vol. 31:556–7n; Vol. 35:235n, 283–4).

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