Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Pelham to Thomas Jefferson, 6 March 1817

From William Pelham

Zanesville Ohio Mar. 6. 1817


I had some years ago the pleasure of submitting to your inspection an humble attempt to note the sounds of the English Language which was favorably received. Since that period I have removed from Boston and become an inhabitant of Ohio.

The perusal of an editorial article in our republican paper of this day prompts me to request that I may be permitted to lay before you (with the utmost deference and respect) the paper which contains it, as a specimen not only of the state of the typographic art in this town, but of the prevailing sentiments of the people, as expressed by the intelligent editor who is also from Boston.

If the liberty I thus take of a few moments intrusion should be deemed impertinent and unseasonable I shall sincerely regret my error, if otherwise, I shall feel gratified in my attempt to afford you a few minutes relaxation from more important concerns.

I am, Sir,

with true respect, Your humble Servt

Wm Pelham

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 31 Mar. 1817 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Stephen Girard, 7 June 1817, on verso; addressed: “Honourable Thos Jefferson Monticello Virginia.”

The enclosed republican paper was the Zanesville Muskingum Messenger. Josiah Heard, formerly of Wayland, Massachusetts, joined the paper in 1816 and was sole publisher by November of that year (Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:822; John H. Edwards, A History of the Heard Family, of Wayland, Mass. [1880], 12). The main editorial in the 6 Mar. 1817 issue, “The Fourth of March,” concerned the United States Constitution. Calling on citizens to remain watchful of government, it warned of “less danger of our constitution being subverted by the governments of Europe, than of its being undermined by domestic traitors,” and concluded with a reminder that officers of both the national and state governments should be so monitored that, if legislators’ conduct did not comport with the “principles of republicanism and justice which are recognized by our state constitution,” the next election might supply a “corrective” measure.

Index Entries

  • A System of Notation: Representing the Sounds of Alphabetical Characters (W. Pelham) search
  • Constitution, U.S.; threats to search
  • Heard, Josiah; publishes ZanesvilleMuskingum Messenger search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • newspapers; Zanesville, Ohio,Muskingum Messenger search
  • Ohio; newspapers search
  • Pelham, William; A System of Notation; Representing the Sounds of Alphabetical Characters search
  • Pelham, William; letters from search
  • Pelham, William; sends newspaper to TJ search