Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Caines, 10 March 1801

From George Caines

New York 10th March 1801


I have to solicit permission to dedicate to You, the work, the proposals for which I take the liberty to transmit. It is intended to be of general utility to the people over whom You preside, & I know not, Sir, to what patronage it can be so properly directed, as to that of the Man who has so long, and so truly had at heart the interests of his Country. Suffer me then, Sir, to ask for the Lex Mercatoria Americana, that protection, which at Your hands America herself looks up to receive.

With unfeigned sentiments of real respect, impressed on my mind years before I had the Honor of being made known to You, I beg leave to subscribe myself,

Sir, Your most devoted and very Humble Servant

Geo. Caines

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “The President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Mch. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Prospectus for publishing Lex Mercatoria Americana, or The American Merchants’ Law at eight dollars to subscribers with a request of a one dollar advance deposit (broadside in same).

George Caines (1771–1825), a legal scholar, author, and first official court reporter for the Supreme Court of New York, was practicing law in New York when the first volume of his Lex Mercatoria Americana was published anonymously in 1802. He intended to publish other volumes, but delays in printing and an indifferent reception to the work forced him to abandon the project (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ).

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