Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Read, Jr., 1 April 1791

To George Read, Jr.

Philadelphia Apr. 1. 1791.


Having now leisure to resume the subject of my letter of Aug. 12. which was circular, I have the honor to acknolege the receipt of yours of Nov. 4. with the acts therewith forwarded. The making a complete collection, to be deposited at the seat of the general government, of all the laws in force in every state, or which have been in force, is so important, that I must ask a continuation of your attention to the procuring a copy of the collection of Delaware laws printed in 1752. and which some casualty may hereafter perhaps throw in your way. I shall thank you for a copy of those now under revisal whenever they shall appear. On notifying to me the cost of those already sent or hereafter to be sent, you shall be immediately re-imbursed by a bank-post-bill, with many thanks from him who has the honor to be with great respect Sir Your most obedt. & most humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “George Read junr. esq. Delaware.” FC (DNA: RG 59, PCC No. 120).

TJ had especially asked Read, District Attorney for Delaware and son of the senator from that state, to procure a copy of Laws of the Government of New-Castle, Kent and Sussex (Philadelphia, Franklin & Hall, 1752)—a work Read reported as difficult to obtain (Read to TJ, 4 Nov. 1790). But it seems that he was sent two other volumes instead. In response to the above letter, Read said that after diligent effort he had persuaded “a young Gentleman resident in the State” to let him have the first and second volumes of the laws and that he would send the third as soon as it came from the press. He had been obliged to pay three guineas to the owner, he reported, “that being the price which he supposed the new edition…to be procured at, when published.” He drew upon TJ for the sum involved (Read to TJ, 27 Oct. 1791; RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Nov. 1791). The work sent was probably the two-volume edition of Laws of the Government of New-Castle, Kent and Sussex upon Delaware (Wilmington, 1763). TJ apparently did not acknowledge Read’s acquisition.

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