James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Horatio Gates Spafford, [ca. 25 July] 1810

To Horatio Gates Spafford

[ca. 25 July 1810]


I have recd. your favor of July 7.1 accompanied by your printed circular on the subject of your proposed Gazetteer of the State of N. York. It is certainly a commendable undertaking, and I wish you success in it. An extension of it to all the States would proportionally extend the value of the Work. It is an inconveniency incident to publications of this kind in our Country, that its rapid growth, and multiplied changes, soon call for new Editions improving & superseding the former, and consequently arresting the profits of the Authors. On the other hand, the public equally gains by this circumstance, which promotes an accumulation of statistical materials particularly interesting to the science of political Œconomy. Its patronage therefore may be considered as the more due in such cases. Whether the particular aid you wish for ought to be afforded, is a question which Congress alone have the authority to decide. For myself, I am restrained from being even a Subscriber, by a general rule, enforced by experience, and not departed from but in very peculiar cases. You will oblige me however, without entering my name on your list, to have two copies, with the price of them, forwarded to me at Washington as soon as the work you have in hand issues from the Press.2 Accept my friendly respects.

James Madison

RC (NjMoHP: Spafford Collection). Undated. Conjectural date assigned on basis of comparison of the contents with Spafford to JM, 12 July 1810. Docketed by Spafford, with his note, “Ansd., & with 2 Gazetteers, 8.28,’13.”

2Spafford’s A Gazetteer of the State of New-York was published in Albany by Solomon Southwick in 1813 (Shaw and Shoemaker description begins R. R. Shaw and R. H. Shoemaker, comps., American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 (22 vols. to date; New York, 1958-). description ends 29836). Spafford’s docket suggests that he forwarded two copies to JM.

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