Thomas Jefferson Papers

Donald Fraser to Thomas Jefferson, 14 September 1814

From Donald Fraser

New York Septr 14th 1814.


Permit me to present for the Honour of Your acceptance, a copy of a small work which I recently published—The Benevolence of your Disposition, will induce you to pardon the freedom of the following communication—I have two Sons in the U. States army1—The eldest, Donald, is now aid to Genl Porter, at Fort Erie, he was also, aide camp to Genl Pike & carries his Sword & pistols, presented to him by Mrs Pike—He’s been twice wounded, at the Capture of “Little York” & “Fort George” My youngest Son, Upton, Sheridan, Fraser is a Subaltern in the 15th Regt.—

Having lost by misplaced confidence & villainy—the fruits of nearly a whole life of arduous industry I’m now, comparatively, poor.—At Sixty years of age—my means of support being the small emolluments derived from a circulating Library, which is very un-productive at present; as2 fighting is more necessary than reading at the present Crisis—I am Desirous to obtain the appointment of a Chaplain to some Brigade in the army—When I arrived in this country forty years ago, I preached in New England—received a liberal Education—& humbly conceive that I’m competent to Discharge the Duties of a Chaplain—Tho, I may not be able to Deliver a Theological Discource, I trust that I can impress upon the minds of the Soldiery patriotic Sentiments & moral injunctions—Will you have the Goodness to solicit the worthy President of the U. States or Secretary of war, to Grant me the Desired appointment?—

I have the Honour to be, with great regard for your talents and character, Sir, your humble Servant

Donald Fraser Senr

RC (DLC); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Sept. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Fraser, An Interesting Companion for a Leisure Hour: or, an Historical, Geographical, and Chronological Compendium: containing a brief but comprehensive history of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Holland: together with a variety of curious articles, both miscellaneous and Masonic, not generally known (New York, 1814; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 4 [no. 124]).

The battles of york (later Toronto) and fort george took place on 27 Apr. and 27 May 1813, respectively (Malcomson, Historical Dictionary description begins Robert Malcomson, Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812, 2006 description ends , 206–8, 620–2).

1Manuscript: “arny.”

2Manuscript: “as, as.”

Index Entries

  • An Interesting Companion for a Leisure Hour (D. Fraser) search
  • Armstrong, John; as secretary of war search
  • Fort Erie (Upper Canada) search
  • Fort George (Upper Canada) search
  • Fraser, Donald, Jr.; military career of search
  • Fraser, Donald; An Interesting Companion for a Leisure Hour search
  • Fraser, Donald; letters from search
  • Fraser, Donald; seeks appointment search
  • Fraser, Upton Sheridan; military career of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Madison, James; applications to search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search
  • Pike, Clarissa Brown (Zebulon M. Pike’s wife); presents husband’s sidearms search
  • Pike, Zebulon Montgomery; and War of1812 search
  • Porter, Peter Buell; as quartermaster general search
  • War of1812; Battle of Fort George search
  • War of1812; Battle of York search
  • York (now Toronto), Upper Canada; Battle of search