Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Thomson Callender, [ca. 20] October 1800

From James Thomson Callender

Richmond Jail [ca. 20] Octr. 1800.


I am afraid of being troublesome. I wrote you last week with some pages of The Prospect, and now inclose a few more. I expect to have two pieces in tomorrow’s Argus, and a defence of Mr. Coxe in the Examiner. Mr Larkin Stannard of Spotsylvania was here this minute, and says that some of my Subscribers that he got me, were shy of taking the books after they heard of my being imprisoned. It almost requires an effort of my credulity to believe that such wretches Can exist. How Congress contrived to raise the fabric of a revolution upon such scaffolding is wonderful indeed!

Certainly a people thus buried in the kennel of servility require very much the Aid of a political apostle; and I have contemplated, for some time, the setting up, next Summer, or Autumn, a printing office in Richmond, providing we succeed in turning out the aristocracy. By a press of my own, I would not only get the work much more easily, and thankfully, but much more cheaply done; and among such drones, I Could not fail of plenty of business. The Editorship of a news paper, and the probable profit of a volume per annum, would Come to a thousand dollars per annum, 500, for the former, the Argus or Examiner, and 500 for the latter; and upon a smaller sum it is not possible to exist. 2 or 300 dollars would be quite enough to buy a press, &ca.

RC (DLC); partially dated, with day determined by internal evidence; signature torn away. Recorded in SJL as received 24 Oct. 1800. Enclosure not found.

Two pieces: only one piece in the 21 Oct. issue of the Virginia Argus is clearly by Callender. As a “Scots Correspondent” in the Richmond jail, Callender predicted TJ’s victory in the presidential election and analyzed probable electoral outcomes in various states, including North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. A piece by Callender in defense of Tench Coxe, dated 20 Oct. 1800 from the Richmond jail, appeared in the Richmond Examiner the next day.

Larkin Stanard (Stannard) served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1798 to 1804 (Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619-January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Richmond, 1978 description ends , 213, 217, 221, 225, 229, 233).

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