From Matthew L. Davis and William A. Davis
New York Oct 14th: 1800
We contemplate putting to press an Edition of your Notes on Virginia, and printing at the end of the Volume the Appendix recently published by you on the subject of Logans speech—If there are any alterations, corrections or additions that you are desirous of making, we shall be highly gratified in communicating with you on the subject. … If, however, the Copies at present extant, meet your approbation, then Sir, you will pardon our soliciting a line from you, stating whether the Notes on Virginia, or the Appendix have been presented by you to any Printer or Bookseller exclusively.
Should you consider it of consequence to suggest any amendments or additions, you may rely on a punctual and respectful attention to your suggestions.
We were the publishers of Mr Gallatins Sketch of the Finances of the United States, and also his late pamphlet entitled, Views of the Debt &c, both of which publications were entrusted to us by him, without his examining the proof sheets, and printed, amidst a pressure of business, in very great haste. We mention this circumstance, that you may not be deceived in us, as it respects our Mechanical talents. With Mr Gallatin we have the honor of a personal acquaintance. We are, with Respect, Sir, Your Most Obt. Serts—
M: L: & W: A: Davis
RC (DLC); in Matthew L. Davis’s hand and signed by him; at head of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 3 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.
Matthew Livingston Davis (1773–1850) was a Republican journalist and politician from New York City. He edited the New-York Evening Post with Levi Wayland from 17 Nov. 1794 until 25 May 1795. In 1797 and 1798 he collaborated with Philip Freneau in editing the New York Time Piece. A member of the Society of Tammany in 1800, Davis was one of Aaron Burr’s political lieutenants in the state election campaigns. He was also Burr’s first biographer as the author of the two-volume Memoirs of Aaron Burr, published in 1836 (Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , 25:173; Kline, Burr description begins Mary-Jo Kline, ed., Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, Princeton, 1983, 2 vols. description ends , 1:xxx, 421; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 4167).
TJ did not exclusively grant to any printer rights to the publication of Notes on the State of Virginia, as it went through multiple editions and publishers; see Coolie Verner, A Further Checklist of the Separate Editions of Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (Charlottesville, 1950).
We were the publishers: William A. Davis published Albert Gallatin’s Sketch of the Finances of the United States (New York, 1796; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 3523). The Davis brothers also printed Gallatin’s Views of the Public Debt, Receipts & Expenditures of the United States (New York, 1800; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, Washington, D.C., 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends No. 3230).