Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Horatio G. Spafford to Thomas Jefferson, 2 August 1813

From Horatio G. Spafford

Albany, (NY.,) 8 Mo. 2, 1813.

Hond & Esteemed Friend—

My Gazetteer of the State of New York being nearly out of press, I seize an occasion which my ardent wishes afford, to present my respects, & enquire how I can forward thee a copy, without too great expense.

Pardon me, my venerable friend, should the truth seem like folly; for, on this occasion, I can hardly refrain from tears.

Addressing one of the venerable Fathers of our Republic, & one whom I had ardently hoped to see; that Father far advanced in the vale of years, & my prospect reduced1 to a faintest hope—my hand trembles as if extended for a parting blessing:—& I can only say how sincerely I desire that boon. I am a boy of the Revolution—& still more & more is my wonder & admiration excited, when I Survey the difficulties & atchievements of that period, with the aids that my pursuits procure: for I am now writing a History of this State, which embraces that period. If I mourn2 the memory of these worthies, generally, who conducted the Bark of State in such times, why may I not indulge the desire of my heart to see as many as may be, of the few who still survive? I pray thee to let me recieve from thee an occasional remembrance, & none of the Sons of our glorious Republic shall retain more lasting & grateful affection. Devoted to the records of remembrance in the past & present history of our country, I should feel all the value & importance of thy good-will.

Of thy former Letter, I have made a due use in preparing for a second edition of my Geography.

With sentiments of the highest esteem, I remain thy friend,

Horatio G. Spafford.

RC (MHi); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq.”; endorsed by TJ as received 11 Aug. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

At some point Spafford also sent TJ a broadside dated 15 Apr. 1813, in which he provides an update on his new work on the state of new york, reporting that the printing is nearing completion; that the volume is now larger and more expensive than he had originally predicted, necessitating a price increase to $2.50; that the work will be printed in octavo on high-quality paper using brevier type and will be approximately 360 pages in length; that he has circulated nearly 2,500 letters in search of material for the work; that the initials of correspondents who provided assistance will be placed at the end of the pertinent entries; and that, having invested $7,000 and two years of his own time in the publication, he is unable to reward his correspondents with complimentary copies (printed circular in DLC: TJ Papers, 198:35199).

In his former letter, dated 14 May 1809, TJ suggested some revisions for the proposed second edition of Spafford’s General Geography, and Rudiments of Useful Knowledge (Hudson, N.Y., 1809; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 3828).

1Manuscript: “rduced.”

2Manuscript: “morn.”

Index Entries

  • A Gazetteer of the State of New-York (H. G. Spafford) search
  • books; on geography search
  • books; on history search
  • books; on New York search
  • General Geography, and Rudiments of Useful Knowledge (Spafford) search
  • geography; books on search
  • history; books on search
  • history; of New York search
  • New York (state); works on search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; A Gazetteer of the State of New-York search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; General Geography, and Rudiments of Useful Knowledge search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; letters from search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; proposed history of N.Y. by search
  • Spafford, Horatio Gates; wishes to visit TJ search