Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Mercy Otis Warren, 5 January 1805

From Mercy Otis Warren

Plymouth, Ms. Jany: 5th. 1805.


I take the liberty to direct to the President of the United States, the Prospectus of a work, of which the author indulges the flattering anticipation that it will accord with his opinions, and that in manner and style, it may be approved by the correct taste of Mr. Jefferson.—

This is a mark of bold ambition.—Thus as usual, human vanity prompts to raise expectation high.—If disappointed, your candour will lend a veil, to cover the presumption.—

The President will pardon this momentary interruption, from one who subscribes with high respect and esteem, his,

most Obedt. Hume: Servt—

Mercy Warren

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, signed by Warren; at foot of text: “President of the U.S.”; endorsed by TJ as received 21 Jan. and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure not found, but see below.

In this, her first letter to TJ since 31 May 1801, Warren enclosed a Prospectus for what became her History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution. She proposed to sell by subscription, at the cost of six dollars “in boards,” a three-volume octavo history beginning with the Stamp Act and continuing through the Treaty of Paris in 1783. She emphasized her connections “by nature, friendship, and every social tie” with many “first patriots, and most influential characters on the continent,” who provided her with the “best means of information” in preparing the historical narrative (Boston Gazette, 24 Jan.).

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