To Elizabeth Willing Powel
Sunday Afternoon 25th Jany 1795
My dear Madam,
Jefferson’s notes of Virginia I have the pleasure to send you.1 My sett of the Bee is entirely broken.2 Into whose hands all the vols. have fallen I know not. Among those remaining in my possession, I cannot find, by their indexes (which I have recurred to) “Doctr Franklins strictures on the abuse of the Press.”3
1. GW owned the second American edition of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (Philadelphia, 1794) at the time of his death (Griffin, Catalogue of the Washington Collection description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends , 521).
2. James Anderson had sent to GW all eighteen volumes of The Bee, but as GW informed Anderson in his letter of 24 Dec. 1795, he had not received the last three volumes, and “in lending out the others, the 12th & 13th are lost” (DLC:GW).
3. Elizabeth Willing Powel may have been seeking “An Account of the Court of the Press. Ascribed to the Honourable Benjamin Franklin, Esq.,” which appeared in The Bee, 7(1792): 253–57. That article reprinted “An Account of the Supreme Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz. The Court of the Press,” which had appeared without attribution in The Federal Gazette, and Philadelphia Evening Post of 12 Sept. 1789. It complained that the press “may receive and promulgate accusations of all kinds, against all persons and characters among the citizens of the state … and may judge, sentence, and condemn to infamy, not only private individuals, but public bodies, &c. with or without inquiry or hearing” and suggested the need for restrictions on the “liberty of abusing others.”