Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1768 - TO COLONEL WILLIAM PRESTON 2 - The Works, vol. 1 (Autobiography, Anas, 1760-1770)
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1768 - TO COLONEL WILLIAM PRESTON 2 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 1 (Autobiography, Anas, 1760-1770) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 1.
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TO COLONEL WILLIAM PRESTON2
Staunton, Aug. 18, 1768.
—I sit down to petition your suffrage in favor of a friend whose virtues and abilities have made him much to me, and will give him equal place in your esteem whenever you have an opportunity of becoming acquainted with them. The gentleman I speak of is the Rev. James Fontaine, who offers himself as a candidate for the place of chaplain to the House of Burgesses. I do not wish to derogate from the merit of the gentleman who possessed the office last, but I cannot help hoping that every friend of genius, when the other qualities of the competitors are equal, will give a preference to superior abilities; integrity of heart and purity of manners recommend Messrs. Price and Fontaine equally to our esteem, but in acuteness of penetration, accuracy of judgement, elegance of composition, propriety of performing the divine service, and in every work of genius, the former is left a great distance behind the latter. I do not ask your favor on a bare assurance of this from me, but from that knowledge of Mr. Fontaine’s superiority, which you will obtain on enquiring of others. I have heard that the other has been possessed of the office; an argument which with you will need no confutation. These small preferments should be reserved to reward and encourage genius, and not be strowed with an indiscriminating hand among the common herd of competitors.1
[2 ]From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, of New York.
[1 ]This application met with no success, Rev. Thomas Price being continued in office.