James Madison Papers

To James Madison from James T. Callender, 23 January 1801

From James T. Callender

Richmond Jail Janry. 23d, 1801


I take the freedom of sending you a Newspaper; and by next post, which will not be till Monday, I shall send you a copy, all but the first Sheet, of the conclusion of my Prospect.1 This trifle should have been done long since; but I find difficulties in getting the printer to move.

I should have had not less than Seven Columns, this week, in the Argus2 and Examiner.3 But I have been curtailed to less than two. The rest will appear, God knows when. I beg, Sir, that it may, for the sake of justice, be understood that I have never been able to find room for one fourth part of the original matter which I wanted to put into the Newspapers of Richmond, though the editors are very willing to oblige me; so I am once more going to send down to the Petersburg Republican4 eight or ten columns of peccant matter, that, if retained longer, might produce an intellectual suppuration.

I wish to be freed from this cramped stile of publication; and, for that purpose, I mentioned some time since, to General Mason, a birth which I want to apply for to the new president.5 The income is no great affair, as it would not be more than 7 or 800 dollars per annum, after clearing expences; but it would give me the decisive command of Several Newspapers, besides other accomodations in the printing line. I have never mentioned a syllable of the Scheme to any mortal, but the General; and think it unnecessary to tease you with a repetition of the particulars. You can, when convenient, get them from himself. It is needless to say that I place unlimited confidence both in the sincerity of your good wishes for me, and in the correctness of your judgement, which, for reasons that I have not adverted to, may probably differ from mine. The Governor’s brother6 has been twice here, with one of those fine open manly Virginian faces, that I have almost never seen in any other State of America; foreigners, perhaps, excepted. I am, Sir, your most obedt Sert.

Jas. T. Callendar.

Since writing the above, I have just got the Sheets of my pamphlet. They come by this post.

RC (DLC). Addressed by Callender to JM. Docketed by JM; also endorsed by Jefferson, “recd. Jan. 28” (see Jefferson to JM, 1 Feb. 1801, and n. 3).

1The Prospect before Us, vol. 2, pt. 2 (Richmond, 1801) (see also Jefferson to JM, 9 Nov. 1800, n. 4).

2The Richmond Va. Argus was published by Samuel Pleasants, Jr., from 1796 until his death in 1814. It was discontinued in 1816 (Brigham, History of American Newspapers, 2:1143).

3The Richmond Examiner was established in 1798 by Meriwether Jones and John Dixon. Six months later Dixon retired and Jones became the sole proprietor. In 1804 the paper was purchased by Thomas Ritchie and William W. Worsley (ibid., 2:1139).

4Established in 1799 by James Lyon and Thomas Field, the Petersburg Republican continued publication until 1820 (ibid., 2:1133).

5Callender here hinted, apparently for the first time to any member of Jefferson’s inner circle, that he hoped for a presidential appointment as Richmond postmaster. A later letter was angrily explicit (see Callender to JM, 27 Apr. 1801, PJM-SS description begins William T. Hutchinson et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (1st ser., vols. 1–10, Chicago, 1962–77, vols. 11–17, Charlottesville, Va., 1977–90). description ends , 1:118–19).

6James Monroe’s brothers were Andrew and Joseph Jones Monroe.

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