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Mathew Carey to Thomas Jefferson, 21 January 1812

From Mathew Carey

Philada January 21. 1812.


Your parliamentary Manual has been for a long time out of print, & in demand. I have written to the publisher, Mr S. H. Smith, to enquire whether he has any objection to a republication of it. And wish to be informed by you, whether, if he consents to its being reprinted, you have any alterations or improvements to make in it.

I am, sir, very respectfully, Your obt hble servt

Mathew Carey

RC (MHi); at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson, Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 26 Jan. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

Mathew Carey (1760–1839), bookseller, publisher, and author, was born in Dublin, Ireland. Apprenticed to a bookseller and newspaper publisher in 1775, during the ensuing decade Carey wrote an anonymous pamphlet denouncing the anti-Catholic legal code; spent a year in Paris, where he worked briefly at Benjamin Franklin’s Passy press and met Lafayette; established a nationalist newspaper after his return to Ireland; and was imprisoned for sedition. To avoid a further prosecution for libel, Carey immigrated to Philadelphia in 1784. With financial assistance from Lafayette, Carey published the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Evening Herald, 1785–88. His other publishing ventures, which proliferated after he gave up his printshop in 1794, included the Columbian Magazine, 1786–87, the American Museum, 1787–92, bibles, reprints of English works, and new works by Americans, including Mason Locke Weems’s A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits, of General George Washington (1800). Carey also published the second American edition of TJ’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1794). He broke with the Federalists over Jay’s Treaty in 1795, was generally sympathetic to the Republicans thereafter, but sought to promote interparty reconciliation with his 1814 publication, The Olive Branch: or Faults on Both Sides, Federal and Democratic. Carey was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1821. Especially after his retirement in 1822, he wrote extensively in support of protective tariffs and internal improvements. TJ subscribed to the American Museum and regularly purchased books from Carey. During TJ’s retirement his correspondence with Carey generally concerned itself with book orders, with occasional commentary on their contents (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; James N. Green, Mathew Carey: Publisher and Patriot [1985]; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 31 vols. description ends , 17:261–2, 19:606, 25:467; 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 , esp. 2:811, 1376; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends esp. nos. 3539, 4903; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library [1829] description ends , 4, 7, 11 [nos. 114, 348, 708]; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:923, 930–1, 1388; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 20 July 1821 [MS in PPAmP]; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 20 Sept. 1839).

Index Entries

  • A Manual of Parliamentary Practice (Thomas Jefferson); and M. Carey search
  • A Manual of Parliamentary Practice (Thomas Jefferson); and S. H. Smith search
  • American Philosophical Society; members of search
  • Carey, Mathew; and TJ’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice search
  • Carey, Mathew; identified search
  • Carey, Mathew; letters from search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Manual of Parliamentary Practice search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Notes on the State of Virginia search
  • Notes on the State of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); M. Carey edition search
  • Smith, Samuel Harrison; and TJ’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice search