James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Snowden and McCorkle, 9 August 1797

From Snowden and McCorkle

Philada. August 9th. 1797.


Herewith you will receive 13 copies of the History of the United States.1 Mr John Beckley2 presented your name to us as answerable for 12. Agreeably to the terms of subscription, you are, therefore, entitled to a thirteenth gratis. The price to subscribers is one dollar. Non-subscribers pay one dollar and a quarter. It would be needless to remind you, Sir, of the delicacy of the situation of a printer who undertakes the publication of such a work as the present. We would only beg leave to observe, that we are young beginners, and that it has been handed to the world solely at our own risk. These considerations we would offer as our apology for soliciting you to forward us your subscription-money, if convenient, by the earliest opportunity that offers. We have the honor to be, Sir, With respect & esteem Your obt. servts.

Snowden & McCorkle

P. S.  We take the liberty to enclose you our proposals for a weekly newspaper.3 You will see, by its plan, that it is well adapted for a country circulation. Your patronage and recommendation will be ever gratefully remembered.

S. & McC.

RC (DLC). Addressed to JM in Virginia and “Favd. by the Honle. Jas. Monroe, Esqr.” Docketed by JM. Enclosures not found.

1The copies were of James Thomson Callender’s History of the United States for 1796, not to be confused with Callender’s American Annual Register published the same year (see Jefferson to JM, 24 July 1797, n. 2).

2At a later time JM placed an asterisk here and wrote “*without authority” in the margin.

3John M. Snowden and William McCorkle operated a print shop at 47 North Fourth Street in Philadelphia. When their proposal for a newspaper in that city failed, they established a weekly in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The Farmers’ Register, brought out in April 1798, continued for one year, after which the partners moved to Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where they published a newspaper of the same name (Brigham, History of American Newspapers, 2:836, 854; Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 2 June 1797).

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