James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Alexander S. Smoot (Abstract), 7 May 1805

§ From Alexander S. Smoot

7 May 1805. “Permit me to offer you my services, as a clerk in your office, to fill the vacancy, that I am informed, has been Occasioned by the resignation of Mr Crawford. I feel a confidence That I shou’d, from the long series of experience, I have had in Business of different natures, be found on trial, Competent to discharge The duties assigned me, and I pledge myself, that every exertion wou’d be used on my part, to give satisfaction, from a variety of misfortunes in trade, I have been reduced from a State of opulence to extreme poverty,1 and am now destitute of resources, to support an affectionate companion, and four Small children, who I can Venture to assure you, will never be ungreatful for any favors that you may be pleased Honor me with, for particulars relative to my Character, in addition to the Testimonials I had the Honor to enclose you some time past,2 I beg leave to refer you to The Honb Gab Duvall.”

RC (DLC). 1 p.; docketed by JM.

1Alexander Stoddert Smoot was a Washington merchant whose financial difficulties had forced him to sell his slaves and other property. Sometime before 1810 he became a clerk in the comptroller’s office (Harry Wright Newman, The Smoots of Maryland and Virginia [Washington, 1936], 23–24; PJM-SS, description begins Robert J. Brugger et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Secretary of State Series (9 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1986–). description ends 7:373 n. 2; Samuel Smith to Paul Hamilton, 27 Feb. 1810 [DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1809–17, filed under “Smoot”]).

2No earlier letter from Smoot to JM has been found, but the enclosure to which he refers may have been the 11 Dec. 1803 testimonial signed by forty-three residents of Charles County, Maryland, a copy of which was enclosed in Smoot’s 26 Jan. 1813 letter to Navy Secretary Paul Hamilton (DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1801–9, filed under “Smoot”; ibid., 1809–17, filed under “Smoot”).

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