James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Frederick D. Tschiffely, 15 July 1822

From Frederick D. Tschiffely

Orange Court House, 15 July 1822.

Respected Sir,

Be pleased to receive my present application with the Kindness, that charact[er]ises you.

Put into Office by Mr. Gallatin at a salary of $310. per an. I rose gradually to one of $1,400, in the General Land Office.

On the 15 of March 1821, I was deprived of that situation, seven children & a wife, left albut without the means of subsistence.

I was Dismissed by the order of the Hon. Wm. H. Crawford— after nearly 12 years of service in the public Offices.

No reason, no cause ever alledged for my Dismissal!

I have been for too long a time travelling over the United States in pursuit of bread. I have not succeeded—& for six weeks past I am travelling, penny less, starving albut, & subsisting on the goodness of humane men. My shoes even won’t carry me farther.

If possible, I want to reach Charlottesville, where I understand a Seminary is to be established, & where I wish to be employed as a teacher of the french, & german languages—Arithmetic, Geography &c.

If respected Sir, you would & with shame do I beg it (for never heretofore was I put to such an extremity) assist me with a trifle, to buy shoes, & to enable me to reach Charlottesville, I will thank you. Mr. Wirt has all my most important papers in his possession yet; I was not at home 8 days ago, as my son writes me, or else I could satisfactorily prove what I have advanced. Begging Your pardon for this intrusion, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Sir, your most obdt serv

F. D. Tschiffely1

RC (DLC). Addressed by Tschiffely to JM “Present.” Docketed by JM.

1Frederick D. Tschiffely (ca. 1780–1839), a native of Switzerland and a government clerk, was granted naturalization in Washington in 1814. In 1821 he advertised his services as a French and German teacher and translator in Washington newspapers. By 1823 he and his wife had opened Minerva Academy, a school for boys and girls, in Charleston, South Carolina (Oak Hill Cemetery Burial Records, Georgetown, D.C., http://www.oakhillcem eterydc.org/Burials/226.pdf; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Miscellaneous, 2:309; Michael Tepper, ed., New World Immigrants: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists … [2 vols.; Baltimore, 1979], 2:260; Washington Gazette, 22 Mar. 1821; Charleston City Gazette and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 15 Mar. 1823).

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