Thomas Jefferson Papers

Francis Clark to Thomas Jefferson, 7 October 1820

From Francis Clark

Fredericksburg 7th Oct 1820

Dear Sir.

I have not the honour of a personal acquaintance with you, but perhaps the object of my communication, will sanction the liberty I have taken.

I have ever felt from the earliest period that I recollect, an unconqurable thirst for literary acquirements, but my pecuniary resources have been so contracted, that I never have been able to procure leisure sufficient, for the pursuit of any regular Course of Study; Nor have I had it in my powir to acquire any thing more than a tolerable english education.   At present, I am engaged in the merchantile business, and as I am pretty well pleased with it, (as a means of support) Shall probably continue to pursue it. but while I am in this way provided with food for the body, I am unwilling to neglect the acquisition of that interlectual food which Sustains the Soul, and which I believe is the Only Source of Solid happiness.

My business, is of Such a nature as to demand my undivided attention during the day, but the nights I am anxious to devote to some profitable Course of Study;—and my Object now, is to beg the favour of you, to Sugest to me that method which you think will prove most beneficial to One situated as I am. In doing which you will Confer an Obligation that will ever be had in gratefull remembrance by

Yr Mst. Obt Hbl Servt

Francis Clark

RC (MHi); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 9 Oct. 1820 received seven days later and so recorded in SJL.

Index Entries

  • Clark, Francis; as Fredericksburg merchant search
  • Clark, Francis; letter from search
  • Clark, Francis; seeks educational advice from TJ search