Thomas Jefferson Papers

James Savage to Thomas Jefferson, 21 December 1814

From James Savage

Boston 21 Decr. 1814


by the hands of my friend, Geo: Ticknor Esqr. who is honoured with letters of introduction to you, I have the pleasure of forwarding the first volume of State Papers, published by Thos: B. Wait & sons. Those gentlemen, having engaged me to assist their publication, have desired me to acknowledge with due respect the letter of 25 Septr. last, in which you kindly communicated the information and advice, of which they were in want.

On examination of the volume, I think your Excellency will observe that a very large part of its contents are not contained in the pages of the National Intelligencer. Much difficulty occurred in the search for some of the papers; and of one, the message of 6 Decr. 1805, referred to in p. 268 the copy could not be obtained until last week. It will appear in the Second volume, which will be ready for delivery in a fortnight. Of that and the Succeeding volumes a copy will, with your permission, be forwarded, as they successively issue from the press.

With sentiments of high respect, I remain,

Sir, your obedient servant

James Savage

RC (DLC); at head of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr.”; endorsed by TJ as received 4 Feb. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States from the accession of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency, exhibiting a complete view of our foreign relations since that time, 5 vols. (Boston, 1814–15; Poor, Jefferson’s Library description begins Nathaniel P. Poor, Catalogue. President Jefferson’s Library, 1829 description ends , 11 [no. 659]), vol. 1.

James Savage (1784–1873) was a lifelong resident of Boston who graduated from Harvard University in 1803, studied law, and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar four years later. He made his mark, however, as an antiquarian and public servant. During his long career Savage compiled and edited numerous legal, historical, and genealogical works, including A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, 4 vols. (1860–62), and two editions of John Winthrop, The History of New England from 1630 to 1649 (Boston, 1825–26 and 1853). He also helped to establish public elementary schools in his hometown, one of the country’s first savings banks, and the Boston Athenæum, and he was a member of the local school committee. Savage served several terms in the Massachusetts legislature during the 1820s and was a delegate to his state’s 1820 constitutional convention. He sat on Harvard’s board of overseers, 1838–53, belonged to the Massachusetts Historical Society for sixty years, 1813–73, and was president of the latter organization, 1841–55 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Tribute of the Massachusetts Historical Society to the memory of their Late Senior Member and Former President, the Hon. James Savage, LL.D. [1873], esp. 4–5, 19–20; Harvard Catalogue description begins Harvard University Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1925, 1925 description ends , 112, 184; Boston New-England Palladium, 20 Jan. 1807; Boston Repertory, 17 Oct. 1820; Salem Essex Register, 16 May 1821, 14 May 1827; Boston Columbian Centinel, 11 May 1825; Boston Daily Advertiser, 10 Mar. 1873).

TJ’s message of 6 decr. 1805 to Congress discussed the hostile attitude of the Spanish court toward the United States. The first volume of the State Papers and Publick Documents wrongly suggested that it “probably consisted of but few words,” while the next volume printed the document in full (1:268, 2:4–6).

Index Entries

  • books; of state papers and public documents search
  • Congress, U.S.; TJ’s messages to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; messages to Congress search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; messages to Congress search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); and publication of state papers search
  • Savage, James; identified search
  • Savage, James; letter from search
  • Savage, James; State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States (J. Savage); and presidential messages to Congress search
  • State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States (J. Savage); sent to TJ search
  • Thomas B. Wait & Sons (Boston firm); and State Papers and Publick Documents search
  • Ticknor, George; introduced to TJ search
  • United States; and Spain search
  • United States; state papers and public documents search