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Letter from James Cole Montflorence to Richard Caswell
Mountflorence, James Cole, ca. 1745-1820
December 23, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 335-336

[From Executive Letter Book.]

May it Please Your Excellency:

The very long sickness I have undergone as well as my wife, having forced me to spend all I had, obliged me to put out of my mind all thoughts of prosecuting my Military designs, whereby I could scarce have got a living for myself alone. I am therefore determined to settle in this State, if I can meet with any encouragement. I intend too presenting to the Honorable Assembly a petition to be named French Interpreter to the State and to your Excellency. If I am happy enough to meet with your approbation, which I do most earnestly solicit as well as the honor of your protection near the General Assembly in favor of my demand, the affluence of French vessels, and of the natives of France to North America, which will even much increase when War will be over, will render that place necessary and indispensable. The Virginians have felt that necessity long ago, and have appointed a German who understands both languages, French interpreter with a very good pay; besides it would save your Excellency of being troubled with French petitions and letters from the Captains of the ships, who would then address themselves to me first.

Moreover I have the honor of informing your Excellency that I keep now the school at New Bern where I do teach the Greek, Latin and French languages, with arithmetic, the principles of Mathematics, Geography and Book-keeping. I believe myself well qualified for this profession, tho' I never exerted it before, having been educated in the University of Paris, where I studied for two

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years Philosophy, and for eight years Mathematicks, and I can flatter myself of giving to my scholars the best principles in what I do teach them, and of bringing them to understand their Latin Authors by the shortest and easiest means. Experience will prove what I here set forth. Neither care nor proper attendance will be wanting, my ambition having always been to make myself a reputation in every thing I undertook. I would be very proud if your Excellency would entrust me with the education of your children. I would take a very particular care of their learning and improvement, and will teach them besides if agreeable to your Excellency, the manual exercise of arms and maneouvres as performed in the Irish Brigade in the French service in which I had the honor to serve as an officer for more than nine years. I further ask leave to dedicate to your Excellency a short treatise of Geography I have begun during my sickness, but that my occupations present will hinder me of getting printed before some months; it is an abridgement to the use of all sorts of persons. As my design is to remain several years in this country, and desiring to follow on my expected business with success and honor, I should wish the protection of your Excellency would procure me the place I call for to the General Assembly to help me out living, every thing being now at an extraordinary price at New Bern, and what I get from my school very little. I recommend myself to the honorable protection of your Excellency and have the honor to remain with the utmost consideration, most honorable Sir,

Your Excellency's most humble & obedient Servant,

Decr. 23d 1778.