Thomas Jefferson Papers

Abraham Small to Thomas Jefferson, 30 April 1814

From Abraham Small

Philadelphia April 30th [1814]


Perhaps it would best become me to apologise, for the liberty I take in requesting your acceptance of the Book which accompanies this—My heart tells me it is but a poor expression of my veneration for you

If you should have leisure to look through it, I hope it will indicate the bias of the Compilers mind, & those principles to which your life has been devoted

The little time it has been before the public, seems to promise another Edition—Could I through your instrumentality improve the Indian department of it?—nothing of that nature has I believe escaped your notice—my endeavors here, have been either ill-directed or in vain—however this may be, I hope you will forgive the expression of what you can never be divested

the fervent & heartfelt affection—of your most hble Sert

Abrm Small

RC (MiU-C: Thomas Jefferson Collection); corner torn; at foot of text: “The Honble Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 30 Apr. 1814 received 13 May 1814 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Small, The American Speaker; a Selection of Popular, Parliamentary and Forensic Eloquence; particularly calculated for the Seminaries in the United States, 2d ed. (Philadelphia, 1814; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 13 [no. 819]).

Abraham Small (1765–1829), printer, was a native of Taunton, England. He was in Philadelphia by 1796, when he formed a three-year-long partnership with John Thompson for the purpose of printing America’s first hot-pressed Bible. From about 1800 until 1813 Small partnered with William Young Birch, after which he worked independently as a printer and stationer until at least 1825 (H. Glenn Brown and Maude O. Brown, A Directory of the Book-Arts and Book Trade in Philadelphia to 1820, Including Painters and Engravers [1950], 20, 110, 118; MB description begins James A. Bear Jr. and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:979, 984, 996; Thomas Wilson, ed., The Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide for 1825 [Philadelphia, 1825], 128; Edward L. Clark, A Record of the Inscriptions on the Tablets and Grave-Stones in the Burial-Grounds of Christ Church, Philadelphia [1864], 579; Philadelphia United States Gazette, 16 Sept. 1829).

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