Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Notes on a Newspaper Article, 16 February 1801

Notes on a Newspaper Article

Feb. 16. see the Wilmington Mirror of Feb. 14. mr Bayard’s elaborate argument to prove that the common law, as1 modified by the laws of the respective2 states at the epoch of the ratificn of the constn, attached to the courts of the US.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 108:18534); entirely in TJ’s hand; on same sheet as Notes on a Conversation with Gen. John Armstrong, 14 Feb.

Wilmington Mirror: Mirror of the Times, & General Advertiser, a semiweekly Republican newspaper established in Delaware in November 1799, with James J. Wilson serving as writer and printer. The newspaper printed James A. Bayard’s arguments in defense of the common law delivered on 22 Jan. during the debate in the House of Representatives on renewal of the Sedition Act. The account in the Mirror varied slightly from that printed in the Annals of Congress (Wilmington Mirror of the Times, 14 Feb. 1801; Annals description begins Annals of the Congress of the United States: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States … Compiled from Authentic Materials, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1834–56, 42 vols. All editions are undependable and pagination varies from one printing to another. The first two volumes of the set cited here have “Compiled … by Joseph Gales, Senior” on the title page and bear the caption “Gales & Seatons History” on verso and “of Debates in Congress” on recto pages. The remaining volumes bear the caption “History of Congress” on both recto and verso pages. Those using the first two volumes with the latter caption will need to employ the date of the debate or the indexes of debates and speakers. description ends , 10:946–50; Pasley, Tyranny of Printers description begins Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville, 2001 description ends , 320–2; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:84). For Bayard’s previous remarks on the subject, see Vol. 31:357n.

1TJ here canceled “existing.”

2Word interlined in place of “several.”

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