Thomas Jefferson Papers

Alexander Macdonald to Thomas Jefferson, 4 January 1819

From Alexander Macdonald

104. Arch Street Philadelphia 4th January 1819.


It must be with diffidence, that an entier Stranger, can bring himself to address a character of your exalted reputation; and more particularly on Such an occasion, as I now have taken the liberty, to apply to you on. I am a person upwards of fifty years of age, who has experiencd Some disappointments in life; but possessing an unsullied reputation: Altho’ under the necessity, of Seeking the means, for my future Support. I am Active and bless’d with good health. And beleive my happiness, is in your power: And Am Solicitous for the honor of being your Amanuensis, or humble Servant, in any Capacity, you may require.

prompted by the benign influence of that beneficent Spirit, that never forsook me, in Adversity! I make my desire known to you; And if I am so happy as to be admitted to the Situation, I Aspire to, I shall endeavor to render myself worthy of your friendship.

I have the honor Sir.

to Subscribe myself your very hble Serv.

A. Macdonald

RC (ViU: TJP); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr &ca &ca &ca”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. 1819 and so recorded in SJL.

Alexander Macdonald (b. ca. 1769) was a native of Scotland who became a naturalized citizen of the United States by 1824, the same year that he applied unsuccessfully to be the librarian at the University of Virginia. In 1825 he was working as an attorney in Philadelphia. An Alexander Allen McDonald had qualified at the Philadelphia bar on 23 Dec. 1824 (Macdonald to TJ, 6 Dec. 1824; The Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide, for 1825 [Philadelphia, 1825], 89; John Hill Martin, Martin’s Bench and Bar of Philadelphia [1883], 290).

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of application and recommendation to search
  • Macdonald, Alexander; identified search
  • Macdonald, Alexander; letter from search
  • Macdonald, Alexander; seeks position search
  • patronage; letters of application and recommendation to TJ search