Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Tunnicliff to Thomas Jefferson, 13 January 1810

From William Tunnicliff

Washington City 13th Janry 1810

Honrd Sir

From the little knowledge you have of me, I am in hopes you will excuse this liberty I now take in addressing a few lines to you

You may remember on my return from London with the little articles I procured for you, it was then, and still is my wish, to get into some employment in the executive department, your answer then was a very good one, from your then situation in life (as to recommendations) but now, perhaps, it may be different in that point, as I conceive, you still retain the friendships of the now existing Secretarys, if so, a line to each, under cover to me here, have no doubt, wou’d have great weight, which from appearances on the debates in Congress there may be additional Clerks wanted in each department, but as there is a long string of applicants, my sole weight will avail but little I fear, without the aid of some well known friend, but if1 this Idea be too presumptive in me, I shall only feel sorry, that I have any ways troubled you; for I have not lived to these years be assured but to be contented in whatever happens probably for the best to Dr sir

Your Mot Obt and very respectfull hble St

Wm Tunnicliff

P.S—My only Son, now 21 Years of Age, wou’d likewise wish to fill a situation of the kind if possible—

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thos Jefferson Esqre”; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Jan. 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

William Tunnicliff was probably the surveyor of that name who published three topographical surveys in England, 1787–91, and came to Washington about 1796 to prepare or copy surveys for a land syndicate headed by Robert Morris. He operated the Washington City Hotel near the Capitol on A Street, 1799–1804. Tunnicliff later became a merchant in Washington, in which capacity he imported books, maps, scientific instruments, two globes, a telescope, and London porter for TJ (Silvio Bedini, With Compass and Chain: Early American Surveyors and Their Instruments [2000], 574; Bryan, National Capital description begins Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital: From its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, 1914, 2 vols. description ends , 1:310, 519; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1170, 1184; TJ to Tunnicliff, 19 May 1805, and Tunnicliff’s Bill for Porter, 20 Jan. 1806 [MoSHi: TJC-BC]).

TJ responded to Tunnicliff on 23 Jan. 1810 by suitably adapting his printed Circular to Office Seekers (see enclosure to TJ to Samuel H. Smith, 6 Mar. 1809, and note).

1Manuscript: “if if.”

Index Entries

  • Congress, U.S.; debates in search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • maps; imported for TJ search
  • patronage; circular to office seekers search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Treasury Department, U.S.; clerks at search
  • Tunnicliff, Mr. (William Tunnicliff’s son) search
  • Tunnicliff, William; identified search
  • Tunnicliff, William; imports items for TJ search
  • Tunnicliff, William; letters from search
  • Tunnicliff, William; letters to accounted for search
  • Tunnicliff, William; seeks TJ’s aid in securing an appointment search
  • War Department, U.S.; clerks at search