Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Samuel Miller, 11 August 1800

From Samuel Miller

New York August 11 1800.


I recieved, more than two months ago, the copy of the “Appendix to the Notes on Virginia,” which you were so good as to send me. For this instance of attention, I beg you to accept my thanks. The perusal of this pamphlet has given me more than ordinary satisfaction. I was gratified to find the authenticity of so celebrated a morsel of savage eloquence, so fully established; & not less to see an opponent who had manifested so much insolence and brutality in his mode of warfare, completely vanquished. By this manner of treating the subject, you have given much pleasure & exultation to your friends in this part of the United States.—

I am not certain whether you have had an opportunity to see any copies of a periodical work, published in this city, under the title of the “Monthly Magazine & American Review.” The principal conductor is a friend of mine, a young Gentleman of considerable talents & learning, some of whose productions, of the novel kind, I believe you have seen. How far you may consider this work as worthy of your attention & countenance, I am unable to decide. To me it seems the most respectable thing of the kind, which, within the compass of my memory, has been set on foot in this country. It is to be lamented that the small degree of taste for literature existing in this new world, and the scattered state of our population, render the support of American periodical works, so difficult, & for the most part so short-lived.—

I have the honor to be, Sir, with much respect, Your humble servant,

Saml: Miller.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 21 August and so recorded in SJL.

Charles Brockden Brown was the young gentleman of considerable talents and learning whom Samuel Miller brought to TJ’s attention. Brown boarded with Samuel Miller and his brother Edward, a physician in New York. The Millers and Brown also belonged to the Friendly Club, a literary society that prided itself on “unshackled intellectual intercourse” and that sponsored the founding of the Monthly Magazine and American Review, Brown’s first magazine venture. The final issue of the magazine appeared in December 1800 although its popular review section continued under a different title. Samuel Miller praised the magazine to many of his contemporaries including Jedidiah Morse to whom he recommended the journal as “useful to the United States” and its editor as “a gentleman of undoubted learning and taste” (Walter H. Eitner, “Samuel Miller’s Nation ‘Lately Become Literary’: The Brief Retrospect in Brockden Brown’s Monthly Magazine,” Early American Literature 13 [1978], 213–16; Bryan Elliott Waterman, “The Friendly Club of New York City: Industries of Knowledge in the Early Republic” [Ph.D. diss., Boston University, 2000]; 9, 11, 16; Vol. 31:276n).

Index Entries