James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George Watterston, 28 October 1813

From George Watterston

Octr. 28th. 1813


You will recollect that some short time ago, an application was made by me for the situation of collector of this District. To know the result of this application is my motive for addressing you at this time & thus reluctantly trespassing on your attention. As, in making these appointments you will, I presume, be regulated, in some degree, by the recommendations before you—I trust mine will be so ample & sufficient that nothing further will be necessary on this subject. I have only to observe in addition, that should you deem it proper to bestow upon me the situation solicited, I shall feel grateful for the favour & endeavour, as far as is consistant with my ability, to discharge its duties with my utmost integrity. By informing me, therefore, (if it be not too troublesome) whether I am to receive the appointment or not, as I am axcious to know the event at as early a period as possible; you will greatly oblige—Respectfully, Yours, &c.

Geo, Watterston1


1George Watterston (1783–1854) was a resident of Capitol Hill and the author of various literary works, including the poem The Wanderer in Jamaica (1810), which he dedicated to Dolley Madison. Watterston did not receive the appointment he requested in this letter, but in 1815 JM named him Librarian of Congress. He served in that position until 1829, when he was removed by incoming president Andrew Jackson for political reasons (William Matheson, “George Watterston: Advocate of the National Library,” Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 32 [1975]: 372, 381, 387).

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