Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Joseph McCoy, 6 September 1809

To Joseph McCoy

Monticello Sep. 6. 09.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr McCoy & his thanks for the poem he was so kind as to send him some time past the reciept of which he has not been able sooner to acknolege. too old now to catch the glow of poetry, he is illy qualified to become a judge of it’s merits, other than that of sentiment. in this respect there is much to commend in mr McCoy’s little poem. the independance of genius so properly noticed in the poem, the superior course it holds, and certainty with which it attains the station in society which it’s powers claim, when contrasted with the desperate prospect of unprotected genius in older countries, is as encouraging to rising merit here, as honorable to those among whom it is displayed & cherished, & ultimately rewarded with justice.

PoC (CSmH: JF-BA); dateline at foot of text; endorsed by TJ.

McCoy sent TJ his poem, “The Expedient,” on 3 July 1809. TJ soon received a 1 Sept. 1809 circular in which Philadelphia printer John Washington Scott unsuccessfully sought enough subscriptions to publish a volume featuring another of McCoy’s poems, The Moment, which was described as having been “written in March last, when the feelings of the Nation were in high agitation, and some steps were taken preparatory to issuing it, when the Erskine arrangement was announced, which, in a great measure, tranquilized the public mind, and the author became indifferent about its publication. Great Britain, however, by her refusal to ratify that arrangement, entered into with such apparent frankness and good nature by both parties, having revivived [revived] the former state of things, and farther confirmed every idea of her character, it appears now appropriate, and is offered for public patronage without a variation in sentiment or opinion” (broadside in CSmH: JF-BA; with handwritten corrections by McCoy; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virg”; postmarked and franked; endorsed by TJ as received from Philadelphia on 25 Sept. 1809 and so recorded in SJL, with the notation: “circular”).

Index Entries

  • Erskine, David M.; agreement with U.S. search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; subscriptions search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; poetry search
  • McCoy, Joseph; broadside from accounted for search
  • McCoy, Joseph; letters to search
  • McCoy, Joseph; sends poetry to TJ search
  • McCoy, Joseph; “The Moment,” search
  • poetry; subscriptions to, sent to TJ search
  • poetry; TJ on search
  • Scott, John Washington search
  • subscriptions, for publications; poetry search
  • “The Moment” (McCoy) search