James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Thornton, 8 September 1801

From William Thornton

City of Washington Septr. 8th: 1801.

My dear Friend

I have this Day heard that the Treasurer of the United States has resigned.1 An opening therefore presents, which is too respectable not to be coveted, and I should have applied sooner for this, had I not conceived an Application indelicate, previous to his resignation; though I heard, some time ago, that it would take place. Indeed, of all the Offices in the Gift of the President, I do not know one to which I should so much aspire; and, an Application I made as long ago as in March last, when any Vacancy should occur, gives me Cause to hope that if the President has no Objection to my filling this honorable Station, so early an Intimation of my wish will not be unfavourable, if I stand equal to others in the Scale of worth & Ability.

I have hesitated whether or not to address you as my Friend on this occasion. I know how irksome the Task of recommendation is, where any Doubt remains on the mind; and I should write with very great reluctance, were I to solicit more Interest in my behalf than a love of Truth & Justice would dictate to you; but, though I request you to do me the favour to mention my Name to the President, yet I would not wish it if there be in your Opinion any Impropriety in the Application. To you I leave this, being certain that whatever meets with your Approbation must be right; whatever meets not with your concurrence ought to be suppressed.

It was reported by a Person in George Town that the Office was promised to him, but not an Individual believes it possible, on many Accounts.2

I take the liberty of inclosing a few Lines to the President of the United States,3 which you will do me the favour of forwarding if my Application should meet with a kind reception from you, & I must also beg your forgiveness for having presumed to give you this trouble.

I am, dear Sir, with the sincerest good wishes for your Health & happiness, Your affectionate Friend

William Thornton.

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