Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Samuel Butler (for Hezekiah Niles) to Thomas Jefferson, 11 September 1816

From Samuel Butler (for Hezekiah Niles)

Baltimore 11th Sept. 1816.—


On the rect of your very polite and friendly favor of 7h Sept I had a serch made into my last years books and old letters—and have the mortification to state, that you made a remittance, as you mention, in march last of Ten dollars which through hurry of business had been neglectted to be passed to your credit, and which with the Five in your last letter pays your subscription up to September next Year—all that can be done is to beg your pardon for the past, and to be more correct in future, but out of 3000 small accounts it would be almost miraculous if some errors did not creep in amongst them—

I [am]1 much pleased and gratified to find that the proposed Index meets your approbation—

With sentiment of respect and esteem I am your Humble Servt
for H. Niles
S. Butler

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Honbl Thos Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as a letter concerning “Newspapers” from “<Butler S.> Niles H.” received 18 Sept. 1816. Recorded in SJL as received 18 Sept. 1816 from Butler, with the entry canceled and a new one added giving Niles as the author.

Samuel Butler (ca. 1765–1826), bookseller, moved by 1800 to Baltimore, probably from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He operated his own bookshop for a decade after his arrival and worked for Niles from about 1816 until at least 1818. Butler died in Baltimore (DNA: RG 29, CS, Md., Baltimore, 1800; The New Baltimore Directory, and Annual Register; for 1800 and 1801 [Baltimore, n.d.], 24; Butler to William W. Woodward, 30 Mar. 1807 [PPL]; William Fry, The Baltimore Directory for 1810 [Baltimore, 1810], 42; Butler [for Niles] to TJ, 16 Dec. 1818; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 2 Sept. 1826; Portsmouth Journal of Literature & Politics, 16 Sept. 1826).

TJ’s missing favor of 7h sept is entered in SJL as a letter of 6 Sept. 1816 to “Niles Henry.” TJ recorded his payment of $5 to Niles “for Weekly register to Sep. 1817” as having been made on 7 Sept. 1816, however. He had remitted $10 on 22 Mar. 1815, not in march last (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 , 2:1307, 1326).

Niles proposed in the 25 Feb. 1815 issue of his journal to publish a general index for its first ten volumes. A quotation from TJ supporting this idea, which was presumably taken from the missing letter of 6 or 7 Sept. 1816 noted above, was printed in Niles’ Weekly Register on 23 Nov. 1816: “I am much pleased to find you propose to make a general index. That alone is wanting to complete the utility of the work.”

1Omitted word editorially supplied.

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  • Baltimore, Md.; newspapers search
  • Butler, Samuel (ca.1765–1826); and BaltimoreNiles’ Weekly Register search
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  • Niles, Hezekiah; andNiles’ Weekly Register search
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