Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Thomson Callender, 17 November 1800

From James Thomson Callender

Richmond Jail Novr. 17th 1800


I inclose some newspapers, and Shall probably use the freedom of sending you by this same post A part of the second part of the 2d volume of The Prospect. The whole is written excepting the first Chapter. I Could not have gone to press, but for the assistance of a Subscriber, who sent me 14 days since his 50 dollars, as mentd in my last, as I want a great deal of money here, I cannot get.

I mean to Collect the Defence, print 500 Copies, and send 200 of them to mr Leiper and Mr Dallas. I had forsworn pamphlets, as one always loses by them. But in truth I feel a kind of pride, at this moment, to let them see I Can write as well here, as any where else.

I am just Come to that ridiculous business the C—n & R—n; wherein, they have been so obliging as to misquote and lie monstrously. I shall therefore make short work with them, and hasten to Hamilton’s glorious pamphlet!

Begging your pardon, Sir,—for this intrusion,

I have the honour to be Sir Your most obliged & obedient Servt.

Jas. T. Callender

P.S. I mentioned Mr. Davis, and his Virginia Gazette, by way of anticipating one reason, for a republican administration dismissing him; his attacks, or those of his writers upon the Republicans. But there is another reason, which could not so well be brought above board; the possibility of intercepting our newspapers, which gives those who use it so decided an advantage; an advantage sometimes taken.

RC (DLC); addressed in Robert Richardson’s hand: “The Honorable Thomas Jefferson Vice President of the United States Charlottesville”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

My last: Callender to TJ, 1 Nov. 1800. Collect the defence: the “Defence of Thomas Jefferson” under Callender’s signature, “a Scots Correspondent,” began appearing in the Richmond Examiner on 11 Nov. and probably concluded on 2 Dec. The “Defence” refuted accusations published in the 4 Nov. Washington Federalist against TJ’s views on the Constitution and religion (Richmond Examiner, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28 Nov. 1800).

On 31 Mch. 1824, Robert Richardson, a native Virginian who had settled in Union Village, Ohio, and was related to Richard Richardson, wrote TJ that he had served as Callender’s amanuensis and that all but 15 or 20 lines of “the Defence, under the signature of a Scots correspondent,” which extended to 19 columns when it appeared in the Examiner, was in his hand. He had also worked with Callender on the second volume of The Prospect before Us. Richardson recalled that he broke off his relationship with the writer when Callender began assailing his political friends: “I told him plainly to his face, that I would not in future write any thing with him, or any thing for him” (RC in ViW).

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