Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Thomson Callender, 27 October 1800

From James Thomson Callender

Richmond Jail October 27th. 1800


Along with this comes another letter, covering some newspaper pieces. I beg leave to inclose the last half Sheet but one of the pamphlet, being from 136 page to 144; and an uncorrected imperfect half Sheet of the conclusion; wanting the first page, which closed my hints for the conduct of the Assembly in my case. A half Sheet from p 120, to 128, I have never yet been able to get from the printer.

We are all in the highest Spirits here, on the revolutions in Maryland and Rhode Island.

I have the honour to be Sir Your obedt & most obliged servt.

Jas. T. Callender

P.S. In one end of the lower Story, the blacks are singing psalms. In the other, a boy, who has gone crazed, is shrieking in lunacy. The sailors laughing. Sic transit Mundus! chase has sent me a letter that he will beat me; and I have advertised that, in case of an attack, I’ll shoot him. The remainder of the piece, with preface &ca, will come next week. Your goodness will forgive the loquacity of joy; but my heart is sick with the pain of gladness at an anticipation of the time, when the herd1 of federal robbers shall be hunted from their den; when oppression shall feel the pang she has inflicted; and rapine regorge a portion of her prey. A New Jersey Judge in a Charge, has advertised Volney, &c. and me, as atheists & blasphemers. I can not get one half of my M.S.S. printed; so that I am ashamed of the comparative ignorance displayed in this piece; and the M.S.S. does not contain 1/10 of what I know. There certainly never was such another history as ours. Mr. Jones and Mr. Rose have acted like Gentlemen to me. I should have 2 pieces in next Argus, one in the Examiner, and one in the Petersburg Republican.

RC (DLC); addressed: “The Honble. Thomas Jefferson Vice President of the United States Charlottesville”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Nov. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures not found.

In a piece from the Richmond jail dated 28 Oct., Callender noted with delight the projections—which proved to be inaccurate—that Maryland would give TJ 7 or 8 out of 10 electoral votes and Rhode Island “to the amazement of all mankind” would give TJ the state’s 4 votes (Richmond Examiner, 31 Oct. 1800).

Reporting that Samuel Chase had threatened him “with a personal correction,” Callender responded that to repel an attack he would “compliment” the Supreme Court justice “with the contents of a pistol” (Richmond Examiner, 21 Oct. 1800). In a charge to the grand jury at the New Jersey circuit court meeting in Gloucester County on 7 Oct., Supreme Court Justice Isaac Smith declared that “your Talleyrand’s, your Volney’s, your Duane’s, your Callender’s, and hundreds besides” pollute the presses “with their corruptions and blasphemies.” Their principles were “atheistical,” and it was “contamination to be near them” (Philadelphia Gazette, 14 Oct. 1800).

1Interlined in place of “gang.”

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