Thomas Jefferson Papers

George M. Dallas to Thomas Jefferson, 27 February 1817

From George M. Dallas

Philadelphia 27. February 1817.


The inclosed proposals have been issued, after receiving the repeated solicitations of my late father’s friends. I am, however, unwilling to effectuate them, unless sanctioned and encouraged by those for whom he often expressed the highest admiration and respect.

Though fearful of obtruding myself upon your notice, I cannot refrain from soliciting your sentiments as to the propriety and utility of the contemplated publication. My motive for so doing, if fairly appreciated, must, I am sure, constitute an ample apology.

With great veneration I have the honor to be Sir Yr mo: obed: Sert

Geo: M: Dallas.

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virga”; endorsed by TJ as received 5 Mar. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Dallas, Proposals for publishing, by subscription, The Works of Alexander James Dallas, with His Biography Prefixed, and accompanied by portions of his correspondence, both public and private (undated broadside in DLC: TJ Papers, 209:37310), stating “the author’s aim to make a select compilation of such productions as may be most acceptable to his country, and of those principally on which the lasting reputation of the deceased must be founded”; indicating that the selection of materials for the personal narrative will be made with “greater latitude,” such that “whatever detail or scrutiny may tend to develope the incidents of a life hitherto but partially known, or accurately to determine the character of an individual so long conspicuous, will be freely and candidly resorted to”; and noting that the three volumes will cost $3 apiece for subscribers and $10 per volume after publication, that subscriptions will be accepted by M. Thomas in Philadelphia and by agents of the Analectic Magazine, that persons obtaining six subscribers and accepting responsibility for payment will receive a complimentary copy for their trouble, and that booksellers will be allowed the “usual commission.”

George Mifflin Dallas (1792–1864), attorney, public official, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1810. After studying law under his father, Alexander J. Dallas, he was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1813. That same year Albert Gallatin selected the younger Dallas as his private secretary on a peace mission to Russia. Returning to the United States in 1814, Dallas secured a post in the Treasury Department under his father, who was then treasury secretary. From 1817 to 1820 Dallas was deputy attorney general for Philadelphia, and he was mayor of that city, 1828–29. He completed the final two years of an unexpired United States Senate term, 1831–33. Resuming his private law practice when he was not in office, Dallas held various local and federal positions, including state attorney general and United States envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Russia, before he was elected vice president on the Democratic ticket with James K. Polk, serving from 1845 to 1849. He ended his public career with an appointment as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain, 1856–61 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; John M. Belohlavek, George Mifflin Dallas: Jacksonian Patrician [1977]; Julia Dallas, ed., A Series of Letters from London written During the Years 1856, ’57, ’58, ’59, and ’60 [1869]; Susan Dallas, ed., Diary of George Mifflin Dallas While United States Minister to Russia 1837 to 1839, and to England 1856 to 1861 [1892]; Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 Jan. 1865).

Index Entries

  • Dallas, Alexander James; death of search
  • Dallas, Alexander James; Proposals for publishing, by subscription, The Works of Alexander James Dallas (G. M. Dallas) search
  • Dallas, George Mifflin; family of search
  • Dallas, George Mifflin; identified search
  • Dallas, George Mifflin; letter from search
  • Dallas, George Mifflin; Proposals for publishing, by subscription, The Works of Alexander James Dallas search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Proposals for publishing, by subscription, The Works of Alexander James Dallas (G. Dallas) search