Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joseph Delaplaine to Thomas Jefferson, 26 October 1816

From Joseph Delaplaine

Philadelphia October 26. 1816.

Dear sir,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your most obliging & kind letter of July 26: together with the particulars of two transactions, and a sketch of Peyton Randolph’s life. These papers I consider entirely confidential & shall never go out of my hands. Of course, you will never be quoted relative to their contents. I am happy to mention this because you have enjoined it on me to use the papers for my work as facts, but in no other way.

I trust that my work will be so conducted, invariably, as that the world shall have no room to find fault. The first half volume has given great satisfaction to all parties. The Repository shall in no instance be suborned to the purpose of party, influenced by party views, or discoloured1 by political partialities. It shall be national throughout.

Nothing shall appear in the pages of the Repository in the least like reflections against other nations. Let us endeavour to exalt our own nation & act magnanimously towards others. I shall conduct the Repository in this particular manner whilst I am its proprietor.

I send to you by this mail the first half volume of the Repository with which I trust you will be pleased.—I have expended on it already upwards of Eleven thousand Dollars, and have been engaged in it more than three years. On its cover I mentioned that your likeness I caused to be painted by Mr Otis. I send to you also a pamphlet, at the end of which you will perceive I have stated that your portrait is now engraving by Mr Leney.

I shall receive from a number of respectable characters their opinions of the merits of the Repository, which I purpose to print with the second half volume. The President has most obligingly favoured me with his opinions of the work which are very highly flattering. May I beg dear sir, that you will after a week, furnish me with your opinion of the Repository. Relative to its paper, printing, engraving, literary part, and something of the plan & importance of the undertaking. I will not trouble you for more than a dozen lines.—

I am preparing the second half volume of the Repository for the press;—In this with five others, your life & portrait will be given.—I think I cannot publish it before January next.

With the highest respect & esteem, I remain, Dr sir, Your obedt & most huml st

Joseph Delaplaine

P.S. I beg leave to have my most respectful compliments made to Mrs Randolph, Colo Randolph, & the young ladies.—

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 7 Nov. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John H. Cocke, 1 May 1817, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 27 Oct.

The two works that Delaplaine forwarded to TJ by this mail were Delaplaine’s Repository description begins Joseph Delaplaine, Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans, Philadelphia, 1816–18, 2 vols.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 (no. 139) description ends , vol. 1, pt. 1, and [Delaplaine], The Author Turned Critic; or The Reviewer Reviewed; being a Reply to a feeble and unfounded attack on Delaplaine’s Repository, in the Analectic Magazine and Naval Chronicle, for the Month of September 1816 ([Philadelphia, 1816]). Notwithstanding the announcement in the latter, TJ’s portrait in Delaplaine’s Repository description begins Joseph Delaplaine, Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans, Philadelphia, 1816–18, 2 vols.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 (no. 139) description ends was engraved by James or John Neagle, not William Satchwell leney.

James Madison gave his opinions of the work in a letter to Delaplaine of 22 Oct. 1816. He considered these remarks to be so inconsequential, however, that he asked that they not be published (DLC: Madison Papers).

1Manuscript: “discolured.”

Index Entries

  • books; biographical search
  • books; biographical on TJ search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters from search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; sends greetings to Randolphs search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; The Author Turned Critic; or The Reviewer Reviewed search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; B. Otis’s painting search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; J. Neagle’s engraving search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Biography of Peyton Randolph (ca.1723–75) search
  • Leney, William Satchwell; engraver search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Neagle, James; engraver search
  • Neagle, John; engraver search
  • Otis, Bass; portrait of TJ search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); greetings sent to search
  • Randolph, Peyton (ca.1723–75); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Randolph, Peyton (ca.1723–75); TJ’s biography of search
  • Randolph, Thomas Mann (1768–1828) (TJ’s son-in-law; Martha Jefferson Randolph’s husband); greetings sent to search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • The Author Turned Critic; or The Reviewer Reviewed (J. Delaplaine) search