Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Thomson Callender, 15 February 1800

From James Thomson Callender

Richmond Febry. 15. 1800.


I did not, untill this day, know that Your Examiner has not been forwarded to Philadelphia. It Shall be done in future. The Prospect goes off very well to many parts of the Country. About 500 are sent off and many more bespoke, but not yet Sent. A parcel will come to Philadelphia, as soon as the River Opens. Chancellor Wythe is the law officer referred to in the inclosed, as Speaking of The Prospect. Colonel Quarrier went to fight a duel with Major William Preston, at Manchester, and let his pistol go off thro’ his own foot; so the duel ended for that time. I have begun extending a clean Copy of Vol 2d of The Prospect, for the Staunton Scourge of aristocracy, set up by Lyon; as all depends on haste, and the momentuous month of October. It will be there first printed in separate pieces, or at least a part of it. They wanted to burn the office of the Scourge. Vid. next Examiner.

I am Sir Your most obedt Servt

Jas. T. Callender.

P.S. Some weeks ago, Mr. George Jefferson sent You a complete copy of The Prospect per post.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 22 Feb. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but see below.


A rebuttal to criticism of The Prospect Before Us appeared in the Richmond Examiner on 14 Feb. under the heading, “From A Correspondent.” In the piece Callender related that a distinguished law officer, “whose name is known and respected by every man in Richmond,” had commented: “Callender’s Prospect is the ablest and most profound political production that I ever read in Virginia.” Callender continued: “All those who think themselves better qualified to judge than this eminent lawyer are welcome to contradict him.” Callender admitted that one aim of The Prospect Before Us was “to promote the election of Mr. Jefferson.”

The confrontation between Alexander Quarrier and William Preston probably took place after Governor Monroe, in January 1800, appointed Quarrier to evaluate the arms supplied to the state by James Swan. Preston, a brigade inspector in 1799, had been appointed on behalf of Swan to value the arms. In communications of 27 and 28 Jan., Quarrier dissented from the valuations placed on the guns by Preston and John Pryor, another inspector. In early February it was concluded that the arms had been “examined very imperfectly” (CVSP, description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers …Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends 9:71, 87–8, 90–2).

In January 1800 advertisements indicated that a newspaper entitled “The Scourge of Aristocracy; or Political Mirror,” would be published in staunton by James Lyon. The earliest extant copy of the weekly newspaper was entitled Political Mirror with “Scourge of Aristocracy” appearing on the masthead and the dateline above the local Staunton news (Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:1156; Political Mirror, 3 June 1800).

Index Entries