Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Ebenezer Hazard, with Jefferson’s MS Memoranda, 23 August 1774

From Ebenezer Hazard, with Jefferson’s MS Memoranda

New-York, August 23, 1774.


As the Collection, mentioned in the Proposals annexed, is a Matter of Importance to the Colonies in general, and may answer valuable Purposes, I flatter myself you will think it not unworthy of your Patronage;-and therefore take the Liberty of soliciting your kind Assistance by favouring me with the Use of such suitable Papers, relating to your Colony, as it may be convenient for you to procure.

Sir, Your most obedient, And very humble Servant,

Eben. Hazard

When the Conduct of Individuals in a Community is such as to attract public Attention, others are very naturally led to many Inquiries about them; so when civil States rise into Importance, even their earliest History becomes the object of Speculation. From a Principle of Curiosity, many who have but little, or no Connection with the British Colonies in America, are now prying into the Story of their rise and progress, while others wish for a farther Acquaintance with them, from better, though perhaps more interested Motives. The Means of obtaining this Information are not accessible by every Person, and if they were, are so scattered, that more Time would be necessary for collecting them, than would be requisite for reading them after they were collected.

To remove this Obstruction from the path of Science, and at the same Time to lay the Foundation of a good American History, by preserving from oblivion valuable Materials for that Purpose,

it is proposed

To form a complete Collection of what may be with Propriety stiled,

American State Papers.

This Collection will begin with the Grant from Henry 7th, to John Cabot, and his Sons for making Discoveries; and will include every important public Paper (such as Royal Grants, Charters, Acts of Parliament, &c. &c.) relating to America, of which either the original, or authentic Copies can be procured, down to the present Time. The History of the STAMP-ACT, and other Acts of the British Parliament for raising a Revenue among us by internal Taxation;-Resolves of the American Assemblies;-Votes of Town Meetings;—and such political Pamphlets and other fugitive Pieces as are properly connected with the general Design, and are worthy of Preservation, will also be included; and to the Whole will be added an Introduction, containing an Account of the Constitution of the different British American Colonies, and a very copious Index.

It is supposed that the Whole may be comprised in five Volumes Octavo, and that the Price of each Volume, well bound and lettered, will not exceed One Dollar and an Half.

The Compilation is already begun, and shall be sent to the Press as soon as it can be got ready, and a sufficient Number of Subscribers can be procured. Every Person must see that this Undertaking is attended with many and great Difficulties; and that the Compiler needs, what the Work if well executed will merit, the friendly Assistance of others. He therefore solicits the public Patronage; and as the Work will not only serve to gratify the Curiosity of the inquisitive, but be eminently useful in much more important Points of View, he begs that Gentlemen who are possessed of proper Materials for the Purpose, will be kind enough to favour him with the Use of them, and they shall be carefully returned.—They will be safely forwarded to him, if deposited in the Hands of either of the following Gentlemen, who will also take in Subscriptions, viz.

Peter Timothy, Charles Town, South-Carolina.
William Davis, Printer, Newbern, North-Carolina.
John Dixon, Post-Master, in Williamsburg.
Catherine Green, and Son, Annapolis.
William and Thomas Bradford, } in Philadelphia.
John Sparhawk,
Noel and Hazard, } in New-York.
John Holt,
James Lockwood, Bookseller, New-Haven; } Connecticut.
E. Watson, Printer, Hartford; Timothy
Green, Printer, New-London; Robertson
and Trumbull, Norwich,
John Carter, Printer, Providence; } Rhode-Island.
Solomon Southwick, Newport,
Isaiah Thomas, Edes and Gill, Boston; } Massachusetts-Bay.
Samuel Hall, Printer, Salem,
Daniel Fowle, Printer, Portsmouth, New-Hampshire.
Subscribers for the book1
John Walker Philip Mazzei Jerman Baker. Chesterfield
George Gilmer Thos. Jefferson
John Harvie Charles Bellini Thos. Fleming. Cumberland
Thos. Millar (Cumberld.) Wm. Fleming Cumd.
Thomas M. Randolph
Rolfe Eldridge Henry Skipwith Jas. Jones
Benj. Harrison James P. Cocke Thos. Nelson, jr.
Brand.[Brandon] Edm: Randolph Chas. Lewis
List of papers for Hazard’s
proposed collection2
1650 ‘A declaration of Lord Willoughby governor of Barbadoes and of his council against an act of parlia commerce with the Barbadoes Virginia, Bermudas, & Antigua.]3 4th. vol. Polit. Regist. pa. 2. cited from 4th. vol. Neale’s hist. of the Puritans, Appendix No. 12.
1769. May. 17. the petn. of H. B. of Virga. to k.
1772. Apr. 12. do. see 3d. Salmon’s Modern hist. the substance of the Grant of Virginia to Sr. Walter Raleigh
Treaty of Aix la Chapelle
1713. Apr. 28. Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Paris
Capitulation at the taking Quebec.
1763. Oct. the King’s proclamn. confirming the same.
1764. Dec. 18. the petn. of Council and H. B. of Virga. to k.
Grants to Ld. Fairfx
1764. Dec. 18. Memorial of Council & H. B. to Lds.
Remonstrance of H. B. to Commons.
Treaties with Indians.
Deeds of purchase of Indians
1765. Oct. 7. Proceedings of the Congress held at New York
1765. May. 29. Resolns. of the house of burgesses of Virga.
1765. Oct. 1. Representn. of the Lds. Commissnrs. for trade &
plantns. touching proceedgs. of Representves. Mass. bay
1765. Sep. 21. Resolns. of Assembly of Pennsylva.
1768. Jan. 20. Petn. of the Representves. of Mass. bay to King.
1768. Apr. 8. the petn., memorial & remonstr. of Council & H. B. Virga.
[1607] Mar. 9. 4 Jac. 1. an ordinance & Constitn. enlarging the Council of the 2. colonies in Virga. & America and augmenting their authority. M.S. No. 1.
[1624] Sep. 18 22. Jac. 1. a Commn. to Sr. Fr. Wyatt to be governor & to Fras. West & others to be the council of Virga. M.S.
[1634] June 19 10. Car. 1. a Commn. concerning tobacco. M.S.
[1682] Nov. 27 34 Car. 2. a Commn. to Thos. Ld. Culpepper to be Lieutt. & Govr. Genl. of Virga. M.S.
[1674] Feb. 25 25. Car. 2 a demise of the colony of Virga. to the Earl of Arlington & Ld. Culpeper for 31 years M.S.
[1683] Sep. 28. 35. Car. 2 a Commn. to Ld. Howard of Effingham to be Lieutt. & Govr. Genl. of Virga. M.S.
1606. Apr. 10. Jac. 1. a grant to Sr. Thos. Gates & others of Virga.
1609 May. 23. Jac. 1. a charter.
1611/12 Mar. 12 Jac. 1. a charter
1617. Jac. [1] a commn. to Sr. Walter Ralegh
1621. July. 24. An ordinance & constitution of the Treasurer council & company in England for a council of state & General Assembly. Stith.
1634. A Commn. to the Archbp. of Cant. & 11 others for governing the American colonies.
1651. Mar. 17. A Treaty
1621. Jac. 1. a grant of Nova Scotia to Sr. Wm. Alexander.
1632. Car. 1. a grant of Maryld. to Ld. Baltimore.
1664. Mar. 12. Car. 2 a grant of New York to the D. of York a grant of New Jersey to do.
a Conveiance of New Jersey by D. of York to Ld.
Berkley & Sr. Geo. Carteret.
a grant of Delaware counties to D. of Y.
a conveiance of Delaware counties to Wm. Penn
1665. Car. 2. a grant of the country including N. & S.
Caroln. Georga. & the Floridas to the E. of Clarendon & al.
1681 Mar. 4. Car. 2. a grant of Pennsylva. to Wm. Penn.
1620. Nov. 3. a grant of New England to the Council of Plymouth.
1627. Mar. 19. a grant of Massachusets bay by the Council of Plymouth to Sr. Henry Roswell & others
1628. Mar. 4. Car. 1. a confirmn. of the grant of Mass. bay
1630. Car. 1. a grant of Connecticut by Council of Plymouth to the E. of Warwick.
1630. Car. 1. a confirmn. of the same [sd. to be in the petty bag office in Engld.]3
1631. Mar. 19. a conveiance of Connecticut by the E. of Warwick to Ld. Say & Seal & others. Smith’s Examn. of the [Connecticut Claim.]
1643 Articles of Union & Confederacy entd. into by Massachusets, Plymouth, Connecticut & New Haven. 1 Neale
1650 a final settlemt. of boundaries the Dutch New Netherlands & Connecticut.
1662. Apr. 23. Charter of the Colony of Conn. Sm’s examn. App. 6.
1635. July. 18. A Commn. from Ld. Say & Seal & others to John Winthrop to be governor of Connecticut. Smith vo. 2
1644. Deed from George Fenwick to old Conn. jurisdiction.
1661. Petn. of the Gen. Ct. at Hartford upon Connecticut for a charter. Smith’s examn. &c. App. 4
1635. Car. 1. a grant to Duke Hamilton.
1664. Apr. 26. Car. 2. a commn. to Colo. Nicholas & others to settle disputes in N. England. Hutch’s hist. Mass. bay. App. pa. 537
1664. Dec. 1. determn. of sd. Commrs. of boundary betw. D. of York & Conn. Sm’s. Exmn. App. 9.
[ ]4 a Confirmn. of that boundary by the crown
1633. July 3. a petn. of the planters of Virga. agt. the grant to Ld. Baltimore
1623. a grant to Sr. Edmond Ployden of New Albion. mentd. Smith’s examn. 82.
1732. Deed of Release by govmt. of Conn. to Govmt. of N.Y.
1664. New Haven case. Sm’s. exmn. App. 20.
1688 [abt]3 papers relating to taking away appeals to H. Burg. of Virga.
1674 (or thereabouts.) Beverley [… re]monstrances agt. Charles 2 […] Southern Virga. sent to England by Ludwell which thou[gh …] kept dormant till now.5
1651/2 Mar. 12. The treaty betw. the h. of bu[. . . .]6
1763. The k’s proclamn. against settling on any lands on the waters westward of the Alleghany.7
1680. Public papers on the Separation of Co[. . . .]8
Removal of App [. . . .]9
1765. May 29. The Resolns. of H. B. and [… re]monstrances & Memorials to K. L. & […] time except the Petn. Meml. […] the Petn. of 1769. May. 17. & the Petn. [. . . .]10

Printed document (DLC). Hazard’s letter is signed in autograph. Addressed: “To Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Virginia.” The list of subscribers appears below Hazard’s letter, and TJ’s rough list of colonial records appears on blank portions of three different pages of the four-page leaflet.

The pioneer efforts of Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817), of New York and Philadelphia, in collecting the archival records of the United States resulted in a two-volume compilation entitled Historical Collections; Consisting of State Papers … Intended as Materials for an History of the United States, Philadelphia, 1792–1794. Though officially supported by the Continental Congress, the work suffered a long interruption from Hazard’s appointment in 1782 as postmaster general, and after the publication of two volumes (containing documents through the year 1664) it was dropped for want of patronage (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, D.C., 1904–37, 34 vols. description ends , xi, 682, 705–6; Hazard’s Preface to vol. i). As one who had a lifelong interest in American history and in the preservation of historical records, TJ responded cordially; see TJ to Hazard, 30 Apr. 1775, and also 18 Feb. 1791; and for a documented discussion of TJ’s important collection of Virginia archival records, acquired not long after he compiled this list, see Kingsbury, Records of the Virginia Company of London, i, 41–54. TJ’s list of papers to be brought to Hazard’s attention is actually a set of rough notes of which a portion, without much doubt, is now missing. That he later copied the list in more finished form is evident from his having numbered the items chronologically and then run a line from top to bottom through the entire list. No fair copy has been found, though many of the same entries appear in a list appended to the answer to Query xxiii in Notes on Virginia (Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends iii, 283–95). No attempt has been made to annotate the documents listed, but the principal printed collections consulted by TJ should be given fuller titles. They were: Daniel Neal, The History of the Puritans or Protestant Non-Conformists, from the Reformation to the Death of Queen Elizabeth, London, 1732, 4 vol.; William Stith, The History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, Williamsburg, 1747; William Smith, An Examination of the Connecticut Claim to Lands in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1774; Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony of Massachusets-Bay [1628–1691], Boston, 1764 (completed in 3 vol., 1828); and [Robert Beverley] The History and Present State of Virginia, London, 1705. Petty bag: “An office formerly belonging to the Common Law jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery, for suits for and against solicitors of that court” (OED description begins A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, Oxford, 1888–1933 description ends ).

1The first six names are in TJ’s hand; the others are autograph signatures.

2Caption supplied. TJ ran a line from top to bottom through the entire list after he had copied it. To facilitate his copying the items in chronological order, he numbered each item in the left-hand margin, but many of the numbers having faded or disappeared in the margin, they are all omitted in the present text. In a few cases where portions of the text are missing, they have been supplied from the list in Notes on Virginia. When the year is missing from a date, it has been supplied by the editors, but TJ’s other omissions are not filled in.

3Brackets in MS.

4Illegible date.

5In the Notes on Virginia list, the entry corresponding to this paragraph reads: “Remonstrance against the two grants of Charles II. of Northern and Southern Virginia. Mentd. Beverley 65.”

6Undetermined number of words missing. The articles for the surrender of Virginia to the Commonwealth of England at this time were printed in full from a MS, in Notes on Virginia, q.v. (Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends iii, 218–19).

7The last several words, missing in the MS, are supplied from the list in Notes on Virginia.

8Undetermined number of words missing. Presumably the entry refers to the “Extracts of proceedings of the committee of trade and plantations; copies of letters, reports, &c.” pertaining to the settlement of the Pennsylvania-New York boundary, 1680–1681, entered in the Notes on Virginia list under date of 14 June 1680.

9Undetermined number of words missing.

10Undetermined number of words missing in the gaps. The Resolutions of 29 May 1765 were those offered by Patrick Henry at the time of his celebrated speech against the Stamp Act; see JHB, description begins Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1619–1776, Richmond, 1905–1915 description ends 1761–1765, p. lxiv–lxv, and TJ’s Autobiography (Ford, description begins Paul Leicester Ford, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, “Letterpress Edition,” N.Y., 1892–1899 description ends i, 6).

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