James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Samuel Harrison Smith, 27 August 1800

From Samuel Harrison Smith

Philada. Aug. 27. 1800


Mr. Gallatin, some time since, had the goodness to apprise you of my intention to conduct at the seat of the General Govt. a Newspaper on a plan, calculated, in my opinion, to advance the best interests of the Country.1 Having since matured my ideas, I now do myself the pleasure of addressing you, enclosing the within sketch of my plan.

It is my wish, and will be my effort to collect into a focus those talents, whose ascendancy, generally speaking, only requires contentration and a correct adaptation to existing circumstances. And if to the number of those who have offered the assistance of their talents, I be permitted to add yourself, you will confer not only an obligation on me, but one also on you[r] Country. The dignified and moderate principles by which I design to regulate my professional deportment induce me with the less hesitation to invite your co-operation. I am with the sincerest Esteem Yr. obt. sert.

Sam. H. Smith

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. Enclosure not found.

1Albert Gallatin’s letter has not been found. With the encouragement of Jefferson and Gallatin, Smith started two Republican newspapers in Washington, D.C., in 1800. The triweekly National Intelligencer and Washington Advertiser began on 31 Oct. 1800. The weekly Universal Gazette was a continuation of the Philadelphia paper of the same name previously published by Smith (see the proposal for the National Intelligencer in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 5 Sept. 1800; Brigham, History of American Newspapers, 1:103–8; Ames, History of the National Intelligencer, pp. 15–18).

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