While touring America in 1797, the French revolutionary Constantin Volney visited George Washington to ask for a letter of recommendation.

Anxious to avoid a controversy while appeasing the Frenchman, the wily Washington composed a note which declared: "C. Volney needs no recommendation from Geo. Washington."

[The economist Robert Thornton (a professor at Lehigh University) once composed the perfect letter for such situations: "I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine. In my opinion you will be fortunate to get this person to work for you. I recommend him with no qualifications whatsoever. No person would be better for the job. I urge you to waste no time in making this candidate an offer of employment. All in all, and without reservation, I cannot say enough good things about him, nor can I recommend him too highly."]

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