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Thomas Jefferson to Paul Allen, 5 August 1813

To Paul Allen

Monticello Aug. 5. 13.


Not being able to go myself in quest of the information respecting Govr Lewis which was desired in your letter of May 25. I have been obliged to wait the leisure of those who could do it for me. I could forward you within a few days a statement of what I have collected, but more time would improve it, if the impression of the work will not be delayed. I will ask the favor of you therefore to name the latest time which the progress of the other part will admit, by which time you shall not fail to recieve it. my matter may fill perhaps 20. 8vo pages, and as these may be paged independantly of the body of the work, I suppose it may be the last sheet printed.

Of General Clarke I shall be able to give you nothing. he was indeed born within 2. miles of Charlottesville,1 & 4. of the place of my birth in the county of Albemarle, but he was so much my junior, that before I could know him, his father removed to another part of the country. Accept the assurance of my great respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (MH); at foot of text: “Mr Paul Allen.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ.

Paul Allen (1775–1826), poet and editor, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1793. He published a number of orations and several volumes of poetry, including Original Poems, Serious and Entertaining (Salem, Mass., 1801). Allen also edited Biddle, Lewis and Clark Expedition, an important labor for which he rarely receives credit. In 1814 he moved from Philadelphia to Baltimore, where he edited several newspapers, including the Baltimore Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1814–16, the Federal Republican and Baltimore Telegraph, 1816–18, the Journal of the Times, 1818–19, and the Morning Chronicle, 1819–24. Although Allen is credited with writing A History of the American Revolution (Baltimore, 1819), the vast majority of this work seems to have been prepared by others. During his final years he managed the Baltimore Saturday Evening Herald (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 ; Historical Catalogue of Brown University, 1764–1904 [1905], 79; Lester J. Cappon, “Who Is the Author of History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark [1814]?,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 3d ser., 19 [1962]: 257–68; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:1369; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 21 Aug. 1826).

Allen’s letter of may 25, not found, is recorded in SJL as received 2 June 1813 from Philadelphia.

1Manuscript: “Charlottesvill.”

Index Entries

  • Allen, Paul; and N. Biddle’s history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Allen, Paul; identified search
  • Allen, Paul; letters from accounted for search
  • Allen, Paul; letters to search
  • Biddle, Nicholas; and history of Lewis and Clark Expedition search
  • Clark (Clarke), William; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Biography of Meriwether Lewis search
  • Lewis, Meriwether; TJ’s biography of search
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition; history of search