Thomas Jefferson Papers

Philip Freneau to Thomas Jefferson, 8 April 1809

From Philip Freneau

Philadelphia, April 8th. 1809.—


I do myself the pleasure to enclose to You a copy of Proposals for the publication of a couple of volumes of Poems shortly to be put to press in this City. Perhaps some of your particular friends in Virginia may be induced from a view of the proposals in your hands to subscribe their names. If so, please to have them forwarded to this place by Post, addressed to the Publisher at No 10, North Alley, Philadelphia. Accept my congratulations on your retirement from public cares, and that you may long enjoy every happiness a private situation can afford.

I am, Sir, with the highest respect and regard, Your obedient humble servant.

Philip Freneau

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 14 Apr. 1809 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found.

Philip Freneau (1752–1832), journalist and poet, graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1771. During the American Revolution he published patriotic poems and satires, served in the New Jersey militia and on privateers, and spent several weeks in captivity on a British prison ship. Freneau subsequently alternated between the seafaring life and clerical and publishing positions in Philadelphia and New York. In 1791, encouraged by James Madison and others, TJ hired Freneau as a translating clerk for the State Department. In Philadelphia he also edited the fiercely pro-Republican National Gazette from October 1792–October 1793. Following its demise Freneau returned to New Jersey, where his attempts to establish other political newspapers met with little success. He continued to write and publish verse in newspapers until his death, but his last volume of poetry appeared in 1815 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Princetonians description begins James McLachlan and others, eds., Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, 1976–90, 5 vols. description ends , 1769–1775, pp. 149–56; Editorial Note on Jefferson, Freneau, and the Founding of the National Gazette, PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 20:718–53).

Freneau wrote Madison a similar letter on the same date (Madison, Papers, Pres. Ser., 1:106). The volumes appeared as Freneau’s Poems Written and Published during the American Revolutionary War, and Now Republished from the Original Manuscripts; Interspersed with Translations from the Ancients, and Other Pieces not Heretofore in Print, 3d ed., 2 vols. (Philadelphia, 1809; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4438).

Index Entries

  • Freneau, Philip; identified search
  • Freneau, Philip; letters from search
  • Freneau, Philip; Poems Written and Published during the American Revolutionary War search
  • Madison, James; letter to, from P. Freneau search
  • National Gazette (Philadelphia newspaper) search
  • newspapers; Philadelphia National Gazette search
  • Philadelphia; National Gazette search
  • Poems Written and Published during the American Revolutionary War (Freneau); P. Freneau sends to TJ search
  • subscriptions, for publications; poetry search