Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Richard White, 16 May 1807

Washington Academy West
May 16: 1807


It is not without a severe struggle between my sense of propriety, and my absolute necessity; that I have taken the liberty of introducing myself to your notice; and at the same time appearing in the unpleasant act of solicitation.

The object of my request Sir, is the place of Librarian, held by the late Mr Beckley; I do not mean to sue for it, in conjunction with the Clerkships; but singly and alone. The situation would so perfectly accord with my former habits of life and my present disposition of mind, that I would far prefer it, to one of more emolument.

To the Gentlemen of the Board of Trustees, I would beg leave to refer you Sir, relative to any particular circumstances you may please to enquire into. To Mr Munroe, Mr S. Smith, & Mr N. King I am perhaps better known, than to any of the other gentlemen, they having composed, what is termed The Superintending Committee of this Academy

I do not come forward Sir, with any claim other than my necessities; & a desire to obtain a situation more congenial to my constitution than this which I hold. I beg permission however to observe, that from too zealous endeavours to exalt the character, and promote the welfare of this infant institution; I have been a considerable sufferer; my calculations were unfortunately made with opinions too sanguine as to it’s capability of expansions. my receipts exceeded my expenditure on account of the schools $389 only at the close of the last year

On the subject of my qualifications for the situation, a favourable report, would appear more gracious from other persons; but one of the Gentlemen before mentioned, made use of a strong expression, when I opened the subject to him. “I know of no place so well adapted to you, nor have we any person here, that I know of, who is in my opinion, so well qualified for the situation; but the salary is very low.”

In the event of succeeding to the Librarianship, I would resign the situation I now hold; and as my wife has lately opened a school for young ladies, with a view to relieve her family from its present uncomfortable condition; by giving her my assistance in the evenings; I would entertain some hopes of our being enabled, to make up in some degree, for the inadequacy of the Salary to the decent support of so numerous a family as we have to provide for. I will not tresspass any farther on your time, Sir,

but subscribe myself with the utmost deference your most obedient humble Servant

Richard White

Principal of W. Academy W.

DNA: RG 59—LAR—Letters of Application and Recommendation.

Index Entries