Thomas Jefferson Papers

Solomon Southwick to Thomas Jefferson, 30 April 1821

From Solomon Southwick

Albany, April 30h ’21.

Dear Sir,

Retired as you are from the bustle of the great world, in which you have acted so conspicuous & so useful a part, it may perhaps afford you a moments’ gratification to contemplate the subject of the Address, which I herewith take the liberty of forwarding. Personally I have no other claim to your notice than that of having in early life, with great zeal & sincerity, exerted myself effectually in this State to place you at the head of the Republic; nor can I perhaps justly say, that this gives me any claim to your personal consideration, since the public prosperity, & not your personal aggrandisement, was the object of my solicitude & exertions.

I trust, however, that the subject of my Address cannot fail to attract the attention of so sincere a Philanthropist as I believe you, sir, to be—& that if any hints suggest themselves to your mind which may enable us to improve upon our Infant Institution, you will have no hesitation in communicating them to me for the benefit of the rising generation.

That you may long live to behold &1 enjoy the fruits of your arduous labours in past times, in the Liberty & Prosperity of your Country, is the ardent wish & prayer of

Your sincere Friend
& very obed’t Serv’t

S Southwick

RC (CSmH: JF-BA); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson, Esq. Ex President of the United States Monticello”; franked; postmarked Albany, 1 May; endorsed by TJ as received 10 May 1821 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Southwick, Address, delivered by appointment, in the Episcopal Church, at the opening of the Apprentices’ Library, in the City of Albany, January 1, 1821 (Albany, 1821).

Solomon Southwick (1773–1839), journalist and public official, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. The son of a newspaper publisher, he began his own career in this field as an apprentice printer in New York City. By 1791 Southwick was a journeyman with the Albany Register, an anti-Federalist newspaper of which he was a partner, 1792–1800. He soon formed political alliances that helped him win positions, first as clerk of the New York state assembly, then as clerk of the state senate, and finally as sheriff of Albany city and county. In 1808 Southwick was named state printer, returned to journalism as sole proprietor of the Albany Register, and wrote columns supporting the DeWitt Clinton faction of Jeffersonian Republicans. Starting in 1812 his influence declined when his support for a controversial banking measure led to accusations of bribery. Southwick was removed as state printer in 1814 and fell into debt due to failed attempts at land speculation. He shifted his political allegiance from Clinton to James Monroe and held the Albany postmastership, 1815–22. In 1817 Southwick ceased publication of the Albany Register. He also edited three other Albany periodicals, the Christian Visitant, 1815–16, the Plough Boy, 1819–23, and the National Democrat, 1823–26. Southwick failed in bids for the governorship of New York in 1822 as an independent and in 1828 on behalf of the Anti-Masonic party. He spent his final years as a traveling lecturer espousing temperance, Christianity, and self-improvement. Southwick’s many publications included The Pleasures of Poverty (Albany, 1823) and Five Lessons for Young Men. By a Man of Sixty (1837). He died in Albany (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, repr. 1968, 20 vols. in 10 description ends ; Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:539; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, James P. McClure, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 44 vols. description ends , 33:572–3; Craig Hanyan and Mary L. Hanyan, De Witt Clinton and the Rise of the People’s Men [1996]; Pittsfield [Mass.] Sun, 21 Nov. 1839).

On 12 Apr. 1821 Southwick sent James Madison the same enclosure (Madison, Papers, Retirement Ser., 2:301).

1Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Address, delivered by appointment, in the Episcopal Church, at the opening of the Apprentices’ Library, in the City of Albany, January 1, 1821 (S. Southwick) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); works sent to search
  • Southwick, Solomon; Address, delivered by appointment; in the Episcopal Church, at the opening of the Apprentices’ Library, in the City of Albany, January 1, 1821 search
  • Southwick, Solomon; identified search
  • Southwick, Solomon; letter from search