Thomas Jefferson Papers

Benjamin Galloway to Thomas Jefferson, 1 January 1812

From Benjamin Galloway

City of Washington Jan 1st 1812.


The enclosed poetical production was placed in my hands a few days ago by an English Lady, Mrs Mary DeButts accompanied with an earnest request that I would cause it to be forwarded to you. The abovementioned Lady is the Wife of Doctor Richard DeButts whose residence is in the State of Maryland immediately opposite the Town of Alexandria. The enclosed Extract is a verbatim et literatim Copy of an original Letter from the Author of the Poem (Mr Northmore) to Mrs DeButts. The circumstance alluded to, which will probably prevent Mr Northmore from ever carrying into effect the design he had once contemplated of visiting the United States, is, that he has lately entered into the Holy Estate of Matrimony with a Miss Welby, the neice of Mrs Mary DeButts. In conformity to the anxious wish and sollicitation, that a sure conveyance should be afforded of forwarding said work to you, I have delivered it to Mr Secretary Munroe: who has promised [to] carry Mrs DeButt’s wishes (quo ad hoc) into [e]xecution. The Author is an intimate acquaintance of said Lady; is an independant country Gentleman, of eight thousand pounds per Year; a real Whigg, Mrs DeButts at the time of placing the Volume in my hands with the accompanying Extract intimated to me, that an acknowledgment by you of the having received said Poem, would be infinitely gratifying to the Author, as well as proof positive, that She had faithfully executed the commission with which her Friend had honoured her.

Wishing you every earthly felicity

I am, Sir, with consideration and respect Yours et cetera

Benjamin Galloway

RC (DLC); margin damaged; dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Jan. 1812 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Thomas Northmore to Mary DeButts, stating that “I beg your acceptance of my Poem of Washington & will trouble you to send the other Copy to your late upright & enlightend President Mr Jefferson a man whose name I have introduced with merit & approbation into my work, and whose political Career will I am certain be mentioned by Posterity with applause. It would have been my pride to have seen him & conversed with him, and I once indulged the hope, but now it will probably never be in my power” (Tr in MHi; undated extract; at foot of text: “extract of a Letter from Thomas Northmore Esqr No 16 Orchard Street, Portman Square London”).

The poetical production being transmitted to TJ, Northmore’s Washington, or Liberty Restored: A Poem, in Ten Books (London, 1809; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4303), suggested that in promoting “The cause of freedom, and the cause of man,” TJ “shalt be another Washington” (book V, lines 292–5), and alluded in a footnote to “The high respect in which Washington held this enlightened friend of the human race” (2d ed. [Baltimore, 1809], 136).

mary debutts, born Mary Anne Welby in Lincolnshire, England, married Samuel DeButts in 1785. richard debutts was their first son. The family moved in about 1792 to Prince Georges County, maryland (Fillmore Norfleet, Saint-Mémin in Virginia: Portraits and Biographies [1942], 158–9; ViU: DeButts Family Letters). Thomas Northmore’s brief marriage to Penelope welby actually ended with her death in 1792. He married Emmeline Eden in 1809 (ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ).

Index Entries

  • DeButts, Mary Anne Welby (Samuel DeButts’s wife); and Northmore’s poem search
  • DeButts, Richard; mentioned search
  • DeButts, Samuel; mentioned search
  • Galloway, Benjamin; forwards poem to TJ search
  • Galloway, Benjamin; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Northmore, Emmeline Eden (Thomas Northmore’s second wife) search
  • Northmore, Penelope Welby (Thomas Northmore’s first wife); death of search
  • Northmore, Penelope Welby (Thomas Northmore’s first wife); marriage of search
  • Northmore, Thomas; Washington, or Liberty Restored search
  • poetry; sent to TJ search
  • Washington, George; praised search
  • Washington, or Liberty Restored: A Poem, in Ten Books (Northmore) search