James Madison Papers

To James Madison from George W. Spotswood, 17 February 1823

From George W. Spotswood

17th. Feby. 1823

Dear Sir,

The Legislature of Va. having appropriated a sum of money to be applied to the finishing of the University, I presume that Institution will be in operation the next year. I will take the liberty, of again, soliciting your Friendly influence in my behalf, in obtaining a Stewartship, and if the request should not be considered unreasonable, I beg your goodness, in naming the subject to Mr. Jefferson. I have been induced to make this early application, as I have reason to believe, there are others, who have in contemplation becoming candidates for a like situation in the College, and hope, Sir, you will pardon me for being thus troublesome, and will only plead as an appology, the anxiety of a parent, whose slender fortune, will not enable him to give, Six Sons (in his present situation) such an Education as he could wish; should there be an appointment of a head Stewart, I should wish to be considered a Candidate for the Office, & should spare no exertions to give general satisfaction, should I succeed in obtaing the situation. I am Sir, very Respectfully, yr. Obd. Servt.

Geo. W. Spottswood1

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1George Washington Spotswood (d. 1844) of Orange County, Virginia, was commissioned a midshipman in the U.S. Navy in 1799 and dismissed in 1803. He served as a lieutenant in the Virginia militia during the War of 1812. His request for a position at the University of Virginia was eventually answered and he spent the years 1825 to 1829 as a hotel-keeper there. He left Charlottesville and settled first in Charleston, then Kanawha County, Virginia (now West Virginia). About 1836 Spotswood moved to Springfield, Illinois, where he owned various businesses, including a hotel and a tavern. He was appointed postmaster of Springfield in 1841 (Nathaniel B. Curran, “General Isaac B. Curran: Gregarious Jeweler,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 71 [1978], 273–74; Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy description begins Edward W. Callahan, List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900 (New York, 1901). description ends , 515; Scott, History of Orange County, 244; Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, 2:222–24; Spotswood to JM, 4 July 1829, ViU: Madison Papers, Special Collections; JM to Spotswood, 21 June 1831, and Spotswood to JM, 11 Nov. 1833, DLC).

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