Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Worsley & Murray, 8 February 1802

From Worsley & Murray

Richmond, Feby. 8th. 1802.


We have taken the liberty to inclose you one of our Proposals for publishing a Richmond Edition of Doctor Ramsay’s History of the American Revolution, and beg leave respectfully to solicit your patronage. It is really to be regretted that the art of Printing is not more encouraged in the State of Virginia; but, from the very flattering patronage we have received since we issued our proposals for publishing the above Work, we are induced to believe that it has been owing, rather to a deficiency of perseverance in Publishers, than a want of Public Spirit and liberality in the People.

We are, Sir, with the highest respect and esteem, Your Obedient Servants,

Worsley & Murray.

RC (CSmH); in Worsley’s hand and signed by him; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Feb. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

William W. Worsley, printer of the Norfolk Commercial Register from August 1802 to January 1803, later entered printing partnerships in Richmond, Virginia, and Lexington, Kentucky (Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:163, 166; 2:1124, 1138, 1139). Worsley’s partner in the proposed Ramsay edition may have been the Petersburg almanac printer William T. Murray (Bannaker’s Virginia and North Carolina Almanack and Ephemeris, For the Year of our Lord 1797 [Petersburg, 1796]; Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 47711).

TJ owned a two-volume Philadelphia edition of David Ramsay’s history of the American revolution published in 1789 by Robert Aitken & Son (Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 490). While Ramsay’s work was widely reprinted, no Richmond edition is known to have been published.

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