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From Mary Griffith Preto

Dear Sir

     You will be surprised perhaps to receive a letter from me but I will state at once my reasons for taking this liberty, in the confidence that you will excuse the daughter of Judge Griffith for asking a favour of her father's best friend. My object is to enquire of you if you know Mr Van Buren, or whether your influence can through any medium operate upon him in favour of my husband who has applied for the situation of Translator to the State Dept or some other employment either here or abroad in the gift of Mr V.B.— I am sure that a letter from you stating that you feel interested in his success, would be a very weighty addition to the testimonials which he has obtained already from several influential gentlemen to his character & qualifications for the office. As you are a Stranger to him in some degree, it will be necessary for me to state that he has a correct knowledge of four languages—English Spanish French & Italian—to say nothing of the Minorcese his native tongue. He is a man of talents & information and has held some high & important state offices under the Spanish Constitutional Govt. His character as a gentleman of high & honourable principles is well known & fully established not only in Washington where he has resided for the last eighteen months, but also in those parts of the Northern States where he has visited.

     I would never, Dear Sir so far impose upon your goodness and friendship as to request you to aid with your venerated name the views even of a husband, did I not know him to be worthy & qualified for the employment he is seeking, nor indeed, would I venture to intrude upon your important time & attention at all, were it not for the necessity of making some great exertions for our support— My husbands business has entirely failed, and our circumstances are now most precarious and embarrassed.

     If that warm attachment which you manifested towards my late beloved parent has been extended in any degree to his children, I am confident that knowing these facts will be sufficient to induce you to aid our wishes by expressing for us to Mr V. Buren, either directly or through some other medium, the interest of a friend, and it cannot fail to have great weight. I will ask more Dear Sir if it is possible amidst your numerous engagements, to do this soon as Mr V.B. will arrive to day—& no time is to be lost— There are other applicants waiting for the same situation. Be good enough to direct any communications you may have to make—to Mrs F. H. Preto at Mrs Carlisles'. I am with with highest respect Dr Sir yours most sincerely

Mary Preto.

Source Note

ALS, ViMtvL: Bushrod Washington Family Papers.