Thomas Jefferson Papers

Joseph Hutton to Thomas Jefferson, 2 October 1818

From Joseph Hutton

Petersburgh Va October 2nd 1818


To express doubts of your cordial cooperation in any attempt to promote the extention of literature in our Union, would be doubting against conviction, and to solicit your patronage, under such a belief, for the enclosed prospectus, will not, I feel confident, be deemed by you, impertinent. Respectfully I request your name, & any other in the immediate circle of your retreat, which, without inconvenience, you may be enabled to obtain.

I remain respectfully Your Fellow Citizen,

Jos: Hutton

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 15 Oct. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (ViU: TJP); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Thomas Cooper, 22 Jan. 1819, on verso; addressed: “Honble Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello, Charlotte’sville Albemarle Co Va”; franked; postmarked Petersburg, 3 Oct. Enclosure not found.

Joseph Hutton (1787–1828), author, actor, and educator, was a native of Philadelphia. His first published play was The Orphan of Prague. A New Drama (Philadelphia, 1808). By 1811 some of his anonymous stories, including “Ardennis” and “The Castle of Altenheim,” appeared in a literary journal, the Philadelphia Repertory. That same year Hutton began working as a teacher while continuing to publish his own work, including a volume of poetry, Leisure Hours; or Poetic Effusions (Philadelphia, 1812). He acted as well, performing in Philadelphia and traveling troupes, and from 1820 to 1821 he was a member of a company in New Orleans. Hutton settled permanently by 1823 in New Bern, North Carolina, where he operated a school and contributed verse to the local newspaper (Ann Carson, The History of the Celebrated Mrs. Ann Carson [Philadelphia, 1822], esp. 85; Samuel Kettell, Specimens of American Poetry, with critical and biographical notices [1829], 181–4; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1811 [Philadelphia, 1811], 174; J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia. 1609–1884 [1884], 2:958, 970, 975, 1139, 1142; Weldon B. Durham, ed., American Theatre Companies, 1749–1887 [1986], 29, 34, 35; New Bern Carolina Sentinel, 2 Feb. 1828).

On this date Hutton sent a similar letter and enclosure to James Madison (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 1:364).

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  • Hutton, Joseph; identified search
  • Hutton, Joseph; letter from search
  • Hutton, Joseph; sends prospectus to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search