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"Abbe Salemankis" to Thomas Jefferson, 27 February 1810

From “Abbe Salemankis”

February 27, 1810
Norwich, Chenango County, N,Y,

Honored Sir

The enclosed letters are respectfully presented, for Your perusal. The author has composed them from no other motive, than a sense of public duty; If they have no beneficial effect it will not militate against the design, but to him must remain a subject of regret. Some Apology is necessary. They were written, without sufficient documents to furnish a full View of the subject intended to embrace: The Printer has been guilty of gross negligence, both in punctuation, and in reading proof: thirty pages are omitted for want of time. These misfortunes have resulted from a deficiency of Capital, which constrained the Author to employ an obscure Country printer, destitute of means to meet his engagements; It was therefore rendered necessary that the work Should appear under its present form, or Suffer a Very considerably time to elapse, before it could Come out.

Please to read, with indulgence to one who entertains the highest sense of his duty to his Country. To You honored Sir are well known the unhappy Subjects of alarming Complaint; But there are thousands in every Country who are never acquainted with the Causes of evil till it is too late to derive any benefit from the discovery. I behold their misfortunes, I tremble for the consequences, but to whom Shall I unbosom my fears? I am Young, inexperienced, and obscure, my voice will not be heard; An American by birth, I hold it as the greatest misfortune of my life, that I have lived thus long, without any communication or acquaintance, with the man, whose love to his country is equalled by nothing, but his irreproachable integrity—Favour me with Your advice, Shall I when able, proceed to correct & enlarge the work, under the hope that the Friends of the Republic, will consider it worthy of notice? and I [shall?] ever beg to subscribe

myself Your most obediant humble Servant

Abbe Salemankis

RC (MHi); torn at seal; adjacent to signature: “Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Mar. 1810 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Salemankis, Letters of Abbe Salemankis to a Friend in Ireland (Philadelphia, 1810).

The unhappy subjects of alarming complaint discussed by the probably pseudonymous Salemankis included the negative impact of party spirit on politics and society, the rising threat to freedom from political corruption, and the increasing prospect of national ruin from “bank institutions, incorporated bodies, usurious systems, corrupt loans, and mercantile supremacy” (second page of unpaginated preface).

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