Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Ritchie, 22 May 1809

To Thomas Ritchie

Monticello May 22. 09.

Th: Jefferson presents his friendly salutations & compliments to mr Ritchie, and observes to him that he has not recieved a single Enquirer since he came home the 15th of March, which makes him apprehend that some circumstance consequent on his change of residence may have occasioned the failure. he has taken for granted that mr Ritchie would call on his correspondent mr G. Jefferson annually for his subscription, which mr Jefferson has been desired annually to pay. the proper direction is to Th:J. Monticello near Milton.

PoC (MHi); dateline at foot of text: endorsed by TJ.

Thomas Ritchie (1778–1854), newspaper editor, studied law and medicine before he purchased the Richmond Examiner in 1804. He renamed the paper the Enquirer and was immediately awarded the local contract to publish federal laws by TJ. The paper flourished and Ritchie achieved a national reputation as an independent spokesman, first for the moderate Republican viewpoint of TJ, and eventually for the Democratic administrations of Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and James K. Polk. Ritchie was also a leader of the state Republican party and corresponded regularly with TJ about anonymous pieces TJ wrote and other materials he contributed to the newspaper. In 1845 Ritchie turned the paper over to one of his sons, moved to Washington, and published the Union there until his retirement in 1851 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; 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 , 2:1138; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 575; Richmond Enquirer, 4 July 1854).

Index Entries

  • Enquirer (Richmond newspaper); TJ subscribes to search
  • Gibson & Jefferson (Richmond firm); and periodicals acquired by TJ search
  • Jefferson, George (TJ’s cousin); handles TJ’s newspaper subscriptions search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; and newspaper subscriptions search
  • newspapers; subscriptions to, by TJ search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; editor of Richmond Enquirer search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; identified search
  • Ritchie, Thomas; letters to search
  • subscriptions, for publications; newspapers search