Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Strode to Thomas Jefferson, 25 June 1813

From John Strode

Allum Spring Mills Near Fredbg 25 June ’13

My faithfull, and indeed I ought to Add, Worthy frd, Mr William G. Arms, in Calling to See me affords me, Illustrious Sir, the Opportunity, Your goodness had Once confer’d on me to exercise, of Addressing You. In the Chain of Creation, I am not insensible how very elevated Your Situation is from mine, which is lost from the great Ocean of Universal good like a drop from the Bucket, altho’ dame fortune has made me as poor as Diogenus, Yet in her despite, I am as proud . . Altho’ I am not a disciple of Zeno, I Cannot boast of Stoic Philosophy, Yet I am bearing the frowns of fate with that Resignation as becomes the dignity of human nature . . at present I only wish for some employment, to aquire an honest existence, I could bring into my Countries Service abillities and Zeal; many ways, to Serve essential purposes . . I am a Soldier bred … an Artizan, an Accountant, in these Respects consciencously & proudly I am not inferiour. my moral principles, truth or honor have suffer’d no taint, Reflection has not any thing to Reproach me with! I can not descend to ask, or indeed Recieve Letters of Commendation to Our beloved President, if I could, it would be to Suffer me at this Age, to enter the Ranks as a Common Soldier. and if I met with preferment, let it be the Reward of military Skill or hardy deeds of enthuastic bravery . . pardon as often You have, my most Worthy Sir, the trouble of reading this presumtious scrawle, which I well know, a momentarry Reflection might prevent … I am not troubling You for a Word in my favour—even if I invited Such a Boon—I wd Rather be pushd Lower (if possible) in the gradation of human infelicity, than Rank among & increase the Number of insignificant Applicants for favour—Thro’ every Vicisitude, devotedly & truly—I Revere and admire thro every Stage Your exalted, and unparrllelld Character with all due Regard

John Strode

RC (MHi); ellipses in original; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson esquire” by “Mr Arms”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 July 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Strode’s financial difficulties included longstanding debts to James Madison, to whom he had mortgaged a piece of land in 1810.He wrote to the president later in 1813 seeking a public position (Strode to Madison, 13 June 1808, and to Augustine Davis, 11 June 1808 [both in DLC: Madison Papers]; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 2:223–4, 407, 6:507–8).

Diogenes (diogenus) “the Cynic” was known for his proud rejection of convention and a pursuit of a minimalist lifestyle that included begging or scavenging for his basic needs. zeno of Citium founded Stoicism (OCD description begins Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2003 description ends , 473–4, 1634).

Index Entries

  • Arms, William G.; carries letter search
  • Diogenes of Sinope (“the Cynic”) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James; and appointments search
  • Madison, James; debts owed to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Strode, John; and public appointment search
  • Strode, John; letters from search
  • Strode, John; poverty of search
  • Zeno of Citium search