Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Lyon, 20 July 1801

From James Lyon

July 20th. 1801.


I am ashamed to be so troublesome as I am compelled to be to those whom I have taken the liberty to suppose are friendly to me; but I believe there are few men, who in their youth do not contract obligations that make them ashamed before they are thirty. Had I not a family to protect and support, misfortune would be little to me,—I could bear it, or fly from it, as I am I must suffer or trouble others for assistance. I took the liberty to mention to you, in a former note, my wish to resume my business, or get some public employment; I have since been employed at 500$ under Mr. Gallatin, who has informed me that my situation is not incompatible with any other business; Altho’ this employment is not adequate to the maintenance of a family, yet I feel very grateful for my situation. Dr. Dinmore, who is a man of talents and a Republican, but who has been unfortunate, has been disposed to join me in printing. At the date of the enclosed letter we had every arrangement made for proceeding, in his name, but disappointment prevented. The obstacles are now so numerous that we cannot now proceed without printing materials of our own; 500$ will enable us to procure them. Our friends have advised us upon the enclosed plan,—and his friend Col. Mercer, has, with the other gentlemen, given it so much respectability that I now venture to present it to you, hoping that in some way you might give it your Patronage;—altho the paper mentions a company of a number of persons, it is probable all the advantages of the loan will result to Dr. Dinmore and myself. I will take the Liberty to call to morrow morning for the paper.

With Perfect respect, your’s truly

J Lyon.

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 20 July and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Richard Dinmore to postmasters, Washington, 28 May, announcing the resumed publication, under his editorship, of the weekly Cabinet and National Magazine (broadside in DLC: TJ Papers, 112:19351).

For Lyon’s employment under Mr. Gallatin, see Vol. 32:262n.

In August 1800, Lyon had established a triweekly Georgetown paper titled The Cabinet, which was discontinued the following March. By the end of October 1801, Lyon’s two publications were combined and appeared as the National Magazine or Cabinet of the United States under the editorship of Richard Dinmore, who was also the director of a circulating library at the “first door west of the President’s Square,” which Lyon had proposed. TJ paid five dollars for a year’s subscription to the library on 2 June (Bryan, National Capital description begins Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital from Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, New York, 1914–16, 2 vols. description ends , 1:368, 588; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:87; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1043).

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