Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edmund M. Blunt to Thomas Jefferson, 28 June 1811

From Edmund M. Blunt

New-York, June 28, 1811


Permit me to enclose for inspection a copy of the Nautical Almanac for 1812—I confess myself governed principally by interest, in soliciting your opinion of a work which, if incorrect, is not only useless, but extremely dangerous. I was this day informed at the Navy Office the Officers were furnished by government, and they used that published by Mr John Garnett— His Almanac for 1811 contains Nine, and for 1812, Thirteen Errors, one of which is an error of 90°—Should you consider my work entitled to the patronage of the country your approbation will sanction its sale; if, like the one to which I refer, you should discover the least deviation from what it should be, I will consign the whole edition to the flames, where every work should be that misleads the Mariner on the pathless ocean.

Respectfully your obt sert

Edm. M. Blunt

P.S. A reply will confer an honor on one who has ever appreciated your talents

RC (DLC); between dateline and salutation: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 July 1811 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Blunt, The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris for the year 1812 (New York, 1811; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3810).

Edmund March Blunt (1770–1862), a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, published the Impartial Herald in Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1793–96. He also operated a bookstore and a circulating library there. In 1796 Blunt published the American Coast Pilot, a source that gave nautical directions for the most important harbors, capes, and headlands of North America and portions of South America. The work was translated into many languages and went through numerous editions during his lifetime. Blunt also printed other nautical works and an 1817 guide to New York City, to which he moved about 1810 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:379; Longworth’s New York Directory description begins Longworth’s American Almanac, New-York Register, and City Directory. New York, 1796–1842 (title varies; cited by year of publication) description ends [1810], 111; New-York Times, 6 Jan. 1862).

Blunt wrote a similar letter to President James Madison on the same day (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 29 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 7 vols description ends , Pres. Ser., 3:361; see also same, 4:343).

Index Entries

  • Blunt, Edmund March; identified search
  • Blunt, Edmund March; letters from search
  • Blunt, Edmund March; Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris for the year 1812 search
  • Garnett, John; Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (E. M. Blunt); sent to TJ search
  • The Nautical Almanac and Astronomical Ephemeris (J. Garnett); errors in search