Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph Delaplaine to Thomas Jefferson, 20 November 1816

From Joseph Delaplaine

Philada November 20th 1816

Dear sir,

I have this moment had the honour of receiving your obliging favour of the 11 instant dated at Poplar Forrest.

I am much gratified to find you take so much interest in my work. No work that has ever been published in America, has been so much reviewed & criticised upon, so much censured & praised as the Repository.

The Aurora & every other Newspaper in this City, and in different parts of America praise it highly, except The Baltimore Patriot, which, if I can judge correctly, suppose, very wrongly, that the Repository leans a little towards Federalism. This is false, & until this paper was put in possession of the truth on this subject, it should not have attempted to injure the only National work now publishing in this Country. However, I shall have an opportunity to convince that paper & the public at large, that my work is impartial & national throughout. I have now1 expended all my fortune in it, & it will keep me poor for a very long time.

Your life is preparing for the Repository. It is possible, dear sir, that I may have occasion to trouble you for a few more facts. I shall soon know.

I presume the life of the President will not be given till the 3d half volume is ready.—In that I hope also to give the Lives of Dr Franklin—Hopkinson &c &c—

I am Dr sir with unfeigned regard & respect Your obed: & most huml st

Joseph Delaplaine

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 11 Dec. 1816 and so recorded in SJL, which mistakenly describes it as a letter of 16 Nov. 1816. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Richard Rush, 16 Dec. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; stamped; postmarked Philadelphia, 21 Nov.

Delaplaine inferred that the Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser of 23 Oct. 1816 was accusing his publication, Delaplaine’s Repository description begins Joseph Delaplaine, Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans, Philadelphia, 1816–18, 2 vols.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 (no. 139) description ends , of a bias towards federalism. The newspaper criticized it for “its ‘catch-penny’ character, its party arrangements and spirit” and “the wretched looseness, extravagance, and pomposity of the style of its biography”; added “that Franklin, Gates, Green, Henry, Hancock, and a number of other patriots, heroes, orators or statesmen, should have preceded Ames, Hamilton, or Rush”; and urged Delaplaine to recall the serial and “begin the work anew.”

1Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Ames, Fisher; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Aurora (Philadelphia newspaper); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Baltimore, Md.; newspapers search
  • Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser (newspaper) search
  • books; biographical search
  • books; biographical on TJ search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters from search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Gates, Horatio; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Greene, Nathanael; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Hamilton, Alexander (1757–1804); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Hancock, John; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Henry, Patrick (1736–99); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Hopkinson, Francis; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • newspapers; Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser search
  • newspapers; PhiladelphiaAurora search
  • Philadelphia; Aurora search
  • Philadelphia; newspapers in search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • Rush, Benjamin; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search