Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Gales (1761–1841), 19 June 1817

To Joseph Gales (1761–1841)

Monticello June 19. 17.


Your favor of May 23. came to hand a few days ago, with a statement of my account for your paper from Jan. 1809. to Jan. 1817. a term of 8. years. I now inclose you 24.D. the amount: but some apology is due for the prodigious delay, for justification there could be none had I considered myself a subscriber. but the truth is that on winding up my affairs in Washington in the beginning of 1809. I scrupulously paid up every newspaper account I had in the world, and thought I had been, as I meant to be, equally exact in desiring every paper to be discontinued, except the Natl Intelligencer and Aurora, the only papers, out of my own state, I meant to read. I find that it was thro’ a servant I paid yours to your son Feb. 9. 09 being 5. D 25 c. either the servant or your son must have forgotten the notice of discontinuance. still many of the editors have now & then when they had something curious in their papers addressed one to me occasionally. yours came to me [. . .] now and then, so irregularly as not to excite a suspicion that they [were?] constantly sent as to a subscriber, and I assure you I had no suspicion, that the notice of discontinuance had failed being given to you as to others. but all this is merely to place on it’s true ground the apparent negligence & injustice of which I should seem to have been guilty towards you. it is enough for me that you thought me a subscriber, and that the paper was sent from your office, whether it came to me or not. and I hope that this prompt attention to the first notice I have recieved in the eight years will satisfy you that this extraordinary delay has proceeded merely from misapprehension, with a request now to discontinue my subscription

accept my acknolegements for the long indulgence intended really on your part, and the assurance of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of a reused address cover from John Adams to TJ, possibly a duplicate of that from his letter of 26 May 1817; torn at seal; at foot of text: “Mr Joseph Gale”; endorsed by TJ.

Joseph Gales (1761–1841), printer and journalist, was born in Eckington, Derbyshire, England, and apprenticed with printers in Manchester and Newark-on-Trent before starting the Sheffield Register in 1787. His publication of reformist articles brought him unfavorable attention from the British government, and in 1794 he fled from England to Hamburg. Gales immigrated to Philadelphia with his family the following year. He worked for the publishers of the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser before taking over that city’s Independent Gazetteer in 1796. Gales settled in 1799 in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he established the Raleigh Register. His son Weston R. Gales became a partner in the paper in 1822 and assumed control in 1839. TJ subscribed to both the Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer and the Raleigh Register. Gales also served as North Carolina’s state printer for several decades beginning in 1800 and was mayor of Raleigh, 1819–33 and 1840–41. He was a lifelong advocate of such reform causes as education, internal improvements, religious toleration, and an end to imprisonment for debt. Gales served as secretary of the Raleigh chapter of the American Colonization Society beginning in 1819 and as treasurer of the national organization during a sojourn in Washington, D.C., 1834–39. He died in Raleigh (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; DNCB description begins William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 1979–96, 6 vols. description ends , 2:265–7; ODNB description begins H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, 60 vols. description ends ; Seth Cotlar, “Joseph Gales and the Making of the Jeffersonian Middle Class,” in The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race, and the New Republic, ed. James Horn, Jan Ellen Lewis, and Peter S. Onuf [2002], 331–59; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 2:774–5, 910; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 40 vols. description ends , 37:312; 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 , 2:963, 1019, 1199, 1335; Raleigh Register, and North Carolina Gazette, 4 Jan. 1822, 21, 28 Sept. 1839, 27 Aug. 1841; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 28 Aug. 1841).

Gales’s missing favor of may 23 is noted at TJ to Samuel J. Harrison, Charles Johnston, and Archibald Robertson, [13] Aug. 1817. On 9 Feb. 1809 TJ gave his servant Joseph Dougherty $5.25 to pay Gales’s son Joseph Gales (1786–1860) for his subscription to the Raleigh Register (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 , 2:1241).

Index Entries

  • Aurora (Philadelphia newspaper); TJ’s subscription to search
  • Dougherty, Joseph; makes payment for TJ search
  • Gales, Joseph (1761–1841); andRaleigh Register search
  • Gales, Joseph (1761–1841); identified search
  • Gales, Joseph (1761–1841); letter to search
  • Gales, Joseph (1786–1860); TJ pays search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; and newspaper subscriptions search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; Account withNational Intelligencer search
  • National Intelligencer (Washington newspaper); TJ subscribes to search
  • newspapers; PhiladelphiaAurora search
  • newspapers; Raleigh Register search
  • newspapers; subscriptions to, by TJ search
  • North Carolina; newspapers in search
  • Philadelphia; Aurora search
  • Raleigh Register (newspaper) search
  • subscriptions, for publications; newspapers search