Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Levi Lincoln, 11 March 1809

To Levi Lincoln

Washington Mar. 11. 09.

My dear Sir

I ought before this to have acknoleged the reciept of two or three letters from you, but the hurry of a close of Congress and bustle of my own departure which takes place in an hour, has prevented me. yours of Feb. 15. is just now recieved, & I hasten to inclose you an order of the bank of the US. here on that at Boston for 45.62 D to reimburse what you have been so kind as to pay for me for the newspapers, and I add one further request that you will be so good as notify them my desire for their discontinuance. I shall give over reading newspapers. they are so false & so intemperate that they disturb tranquility without giving information. accept this brief epistle as the pledge of a longer one from the leisure of Monticello, & be assured of my constant friendship & respect

Th: Jefferson

RC (John Herron, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., 2002, on deposit MWA); at foot of text: “the honble Levi Lincoln”; endorsed by Lincoln. PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure not found.

Levi Lincoln (1749–1820), a Massachusetts lawyer and a leading New England Republican, graduated from Harvard and practiced law at Worcester. He served briefly in the United States House of Representatives, 1800–01, but gave up the office when TJ appointed him attorney general, a position he held until his resignation at the end of 1804. Lincoln subsequently won a term as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1807, and served as governor, on the death of the incumbent, from December 1808 to 1 May 1809. Lincoln declined James Madison’s appointment in 1810 as a justice to the Supreme Court, pleading age and poor eyesight, and retired to his Worcester farm (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 ; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 18:121–8).

The two or three letters from Lincoln were probably those of 31 Jan., 15 and 23 Feb. 1809 (NNPM, MHi, and DLC, respectively). The 15 Feb. letter did not relate to TJ’s newspaper subscriptions but may have enclosed a bill for the four Massachusetts newspapers TJ had received since 1804, namely the Boston Democrat, Boston Independent Chronicle, Salem Register, and Worcester National Aegis (MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:964, 1123).

Index Entries

  • Bank of the United States; drafts on, by TJ search
  • Boston, Mass.; newspapers search
  • Democrat (Boston newspaper) search
  • Independent Chronicle (Boston newspaper) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; and newspaper subscriptions search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; newspapers search
  • Lincoln, Levi; identified search
  • Lincoln, Levi; letters to search
  • Lincoln, Levi; TJ pays search
  • National Aegis (Worcester, Mass. newspaper) search
  • newspapers; Boston Democrat search
  • newspapers; Boston Independent Chronicle search
  • newspapers; Salem Register (Mass.) search
  • newspapers; subscriptions to, by TJ search
  • newspapers; TJ on search
  • newspapers; Worcester, Mass.,National Aegis search
  • Salem Register (Mass. newspaper) search
  • subscriptions, for publications; newspapers search
  • Supreme Court, U.S.; appointments to search
  • Worcester National Aegis (Mass. newspaper) search