Of Principles and Men : the Correspondence of John Taylor of Caroline with Wilson Cary Nicholas, 1804-1809

Mayer, David N., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Abbot, W.W., Department of History, University of Virginia
Peterson, Merrill S., Department of History, University of Virginia

Most of the twenty-seven documents here assembled were found in the manuscript collections of Alderman Library at the University of Virginia. Two collections in particular, the Edgehill-Randolph Collection and the Wilson Cary Nicholas Papers, furnished tll but one of the Alderman Library manuscripts; the other document in the possession of Alderman Library came from the Carter-Smith Papers. The two remaining documents, from the Library of Congress (Wilson Cary Nicholas Papers) and the Massachusetts Historical Society ( the Coolidge Collection of Thomas Jefferson Papers), were available on microfilm at Alderman Library. These sources are identified by the symbols used in the .National Union Catalog, in the source line given at the foot of each document. In addition, for the appropriate documents, the accession numbers are given to differentiate the two parts of the Wilson Cary Nicholas Papers collections at Alderman Library.

Since the sources for these documents were almost exclusively collections of the papers of Wilson Cary Nicholas, the Taylor letters are the actual copies received by Nicholas but the Nicholas letters are Nicholas's own copies or drafts of the letters he sent Taylor. Twenty-three of the letters were written by Taylor. Of the four letters written by Nicholas, two can be identified as drafts because of extensive interlineations and corrections; the other two Nicholas letters may be either drafts or copies made by Nicholas, and are thus identified merely as autograph letters.

The correspondence covers the period from March 1804 until June 1809 rather unevenly. There are four large periods of time for which there are no letters, between June 1804 and April 1805, between June 1805 and March 1806, between June 1806 and August 1807, and between August 1808 and March 1809. To put it another way, the time periods in which the documents fall are as follows, spring 1804, spring 1805, spring and early summer 1806, from late summer 1807 until late summer 1808 (fortunately, there are letters throughout the important year preceding the election), and spring and early summer 1809. Although these letters have not been published in their entirety, they have been extensively quoted in many of the secondary works herein cited, particularly Risjord's The Old Republicans, Shalhope' s John Taylor of Caroline: Pastoral Republican, and Hill's Political Theory of John Taylor of Caroline. Two collections of Taylor's correspondence (neither of which include any of the letters to Nicholas) have been published: the first in 1908, in The John P. Branch Historical Papers of Randolph-Macon College (which includes much of the Taylor-Monroe correspondence), and the second in 1944, in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

The texts of the documents for the most part have been transcribed literally. Superior letters have been brought down. Where it is not possible to ascertain whether the author intended to use a capital or A lower-case letter, modern usage has been followed. Dashes used at the end of a sentence or as superfluous punctuation have been omitted. Insertions in the text, including those written in the margin for lack of space, have been silently incorporated in the text, with carats or other symbols omitted. Salutations and datelines have been placed on the same line of text. Closings have been attached to the end of the last paragraph, in sentence form, though the signature has been left on a separate line. Obvious errors, such as repeated words, and deleted words (words crossed out by the author) have been omitted, in most cases. Deleted words have been retained in drafts (except for obvious errors) and, on occasion, where the deletion seems significant as a clue to the author's intention. Missing letters or words have been inserted. in square brackets where the meaning of the text would be unclear without them. Missing or illegible words have been indicated. by angle brackets; conjectural readings have been put within the angle brackets.

MA (Master of Arts)
Taylor, John -- 1753-1824, Nicholas, Wilson Cary -- 1761-1820, United States -- History -- 1801-1809 -- Sources

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

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