John James Beckley

A Guide to the John James Beckley Papers, 1773-1807
Call Number Mss1 B3886 a


Main Entry:Beckley, John James, 1757-1807
Title: Papers, 1773-1807
Size:1,320 items
Biographical Note:John Beckley became the first clerk of the United States House of Representatives, 1789-1796, and the first Librarian of Congress. Earlier, he had served as Clerk of the Virginia Senate, House of Delegates, and Court of Appeals. He was also an alderman and mayor of Richmond. A staunch supporter of Jeffersonian Republicanism, Beckley assisted in organizing opposition to the policies of Alexander Hamilton by writing articles and pamphlets. In 1796 he operated as the nation's first political party manager, organizing the Pennsylvania campaign effort to elect Thomas Jefferson president of the United States. As a result, Beckley lost his job as clerk of the House of Representatives. Upon Jefferson's election to the presidency in 1801, Beckley was reelected clerk of the House of Representatives, and in January 1802 Jefferson named him to the new position of Librarian of Congress. He held these two posts simultaneously until his death in 1807.
Scope Note: Includes correspondence, 1773-1807, of John James Beckley with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Edmund Randolph, George Washington, and others concerning politics. Also, includes copies of political writings by Beckley published under the pseudonyms Americanus, Calm Observer, and Senex.
Reproduction Note:Typed transcriptions of originals documents in various libraries made by Dorothy (Smith) Berkeley and Edmund Berkeley in compiling John Beckley, Zealous Partisan in a Nation Divided (Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1973).
Provenance:Gift of Edumund and Dorothy (Smith) Berkeley, Charlottesville, Va., 21 October 1974.

Guide to Correspondence

Adams, Jacob (to)1798 January 4                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Adams, Thomas (to)1775 October 26
Alden, John (to)      1790 February 12
Anderson, George (from)1786 April 18
Anderson, William (to)1791January 1
Armistead, William W. (to)1779 December 21
Baker, John (to)1797 November 25
Banks, Henry (account with Banks & Co.)1783-1785, 1789
   (from)1789 February 15
   (to)1797 May 1
   (to)1797 June 21
Barton, Judge William (from)1801 March 2
Bellami, Ricce & Co. (to)1799 February 25
Bentley, Rev. William (from)1804 November 16
Blount, Sen. William (to)1797 December 15
Brown, J. H. (to)1798 May 24
Brown, Sen. James (to)1798 January 16
Brown, Sen. John (from)1792 September 12
   (to)1804 August 8
   (to)1804 September 21
   (to)1806 July 12
   (to)1806 September 8
   (to)1807 January 23
Brown, Dr. Samuel (to)1797 November 17
Buchanan, James (from)1782 June 23
Burr, Vice-Pres. Aaron (to)1802 April 5
Burwell, Rep. William (to)1805 June 25
Carey, Mathew, Editor (to)1804 September 18
   (to)1806 November 14
Clendinen, George (to)1786 January 21
   (from)1787 January 15
Clingman, Jacob (to)1793 June 27
Clinton, Sen. DeWitt (to)1795 July 24
   (to)1795 September 13
   (to)1796 April 2
   (to)1796 April 11
Cobbett, William (to)1797 May 19
Coxe, Tench (from)1801 December 11
Curtis, Augustine (to)1773 November 18
Dallas, A. J., Secretary of the Treasury (to)1797 June 9
   (to)1799 November 7
Davies, William (to)1782 January 30
Dayton, Jonathan, Speaker of the House (to)1797 April 5
Duane, William, Editor (to)1801 June 30
Dunscomb, Andrew (to)1797 June 4
   (to)1797 November 30
Duponceau, Peter (from)1798 December 7
   (from)1800 March 3
   (to)1801 December 19
   (from)1804 November 20
   (from)1805 May 24
   (from)1805 December 2
   (from)1805 December 19
   (from)1806 April 29
Eustis, William, Secretary of War (to)1803 July 16
Faw, Jonathan (to)1797 December 4
   (to)1798 June 14
Fields, John (to)1797 March 5
Fitch, John, Inventor (from)[1790]
Gallatin, Albert, Secretary of Treasury (to)1801 February 4
   (to)1801 February 15
   (to)1801 July 5
Galline, Peter (to)1798 March 19
   (to)1798 June 8
   (to)1798 July 18
Gilmor and Sons (to)1802 February 17
Goodrich, Elizur (to)1782 July 1
Greene, Gen. Nathaniel (to)1783 September 13
   (from)1783 September 13
Greenleaf, James (to)1799 February 23
Gregory, Nathaniel, Beckley’s brother-in-law (to)1798 June 16
Gregory, Roger (to)1798 July 11
Griffith, Judge William (to)1797 August 5
   (to)1797 December 12
   (to)1798 January 18
   (to)1798 March 20
   (to)1799 January 9
   (to)1799 March 5
Hamilton, Alexander (from)1795 November 2
Harrison, Benjamin (to)1782 March 19
   (to)1784 April 21
   (to)1784 July 1
   (to)1784 July 16
   (to)1784 October 18
Henry, Patrick (to)1786 May 19
Hodges, David (to)1798 November 20
   (to)1799 March 3
Hunt, Seth (to)1806 May 16
Hunter, John Ware (to)1799 January 22
   (to)1799 February 5
   (from) extract1799 February 7
   (to)1799 March 1
Innes, Judge Harry (to)1800 October 16
   (to)1804 March 7
   (to)1806 March 17
Irvine, Callender (from)1804 October 31
   (from)1804 November 1
Irvine, Gen. William (to)1788-1792 n.d.
   (to)1796 March 12
   (to)1796 September 15
   (to)1796 September 22
   (to)1796 September 30
   (to)1796 October 4
   (to)1796 October 17
   (to)1796 November 2
   (to)1796 December 16
   (to)1797 August 10
   (to)1798 July 20
   (to)1799 January 2
   (to)1799 March 22
   (to)1799 April 12
   (to)1799 April 26
   (to)1799 May 10
   (to)1799 May 17
   (to)1799 Mary 31
   (to)1799 August 2
   (to)1799 August 23
   (to)1799 October 24
   (to)1799 November 8
   (to)1801 March 20
   (to)1801 November 26
   (from)1804 July 8
Jefferson, Thomas (to)1781 June 12
   (to)1798 March 15
   (from)1798 April 17
   (from)1798 April 17
   (from)1798 June 12
   (to)1799 January 24
   (to)1801 February 27
   (to)1801 March 10
   (to)1801 March 18
   (to)1801 June 13
   (from)1801 October 22
   (to)1801 October 27
   (to)1802 March 18
   (to)1802 July 6
   (from)1802 July 16
   (to)1803 November 22
   (from)1804 May 16
   (to)1804 October 23
   (from)1806 March 6
   (to)1806 March 6
   (to)1806 March 15
   (from)1806 March 15
Johnson, Joshua, U.S. Consul (to)1791 October 6
Kirby, Ephraim, Commissioner (to)1796 May 7
   (to)1796 June 3
   (to)1796 June 10
   (to)1798 January 12
   (to)1798 January [?]
   (to)1800 July [?]
   (to)1800 August 6
   (to)1800 August 14
   (to)1800 October 1
   (to)1800 October 23
   (to)1802 July 16
Knox, Col. James (to)1797 December 18
Lambert, William, Beckley’s clerk(to)1801 May 22
Lear, Tobias, Washington’s secretary (to)1790 December 11
   (from)1791 February 3
   (to)1791 February 3
LeCompte, F. W., French agent (to)1795 April 8
Lafavre, Nicholas (to)1804 July 7
McKesson, John (to)1799 March 6
McNeill, John (to)1798 May 22
Madison, James (to)1789 March 13
   (to)1792 August 1
   (to)1792 September 2
   (to)1792 September 10
   (to)1792 October 17
   (to)1793 November 20
   (to)1795 April 20
   (to)1795 May 4
   (from)1795 May 25
   (from)1795 September 10
   (from)1796 June 20
   (from)1796 October 15
   (from)1797 March 11
   (from)1802 January 22
   (from)1803 May 5
   (from)1803 May 20
   (from)1804 July 18
   (from)1804 July 19
   (from)1804 November 8
Mason, Rev. John Mitchell (to)1798 July 16
Mason, Sen. Stevens Thomson (to)1798 July 5
Milledge, Sen. John (to)1798 June 21
   (to)1798 December 18
   (to)1799 January 23
   (to)1799 March 9
Mills family, Albemarle County (to)1781 June 7
Monroe, James (to)1793 April 10
   (to)1795 June 1
   (from)1795 June 23
   (to)1795 September 23
   (to)1795 December 14
   (to)1796 April 2
   (to)1796 October 17
   (to)1798 October 20
   (to)1800 August 26
   (to)1800 August 28
   (to)1806 July 13
Moore, Sen. Andrew (to)1795 May 15
   (to)1795 June 8
   (to)1795 September 29
   (memo from Beckley and Moore)1796 June 2
   (from)1797 March 4 (2)
   (to)1797 April 24
   (from)1797 May 7
   (to)1797 May 8
   (from)1797 May 23
   (to)1797 October 12
   (to)1797 December 9
   (to)1797 December 16
   (to)1798 January 24
   (to)1798 January 26
   (to)1798 July 6
   (to)1799 August 17
   (to)1798 September 26
   (to)1799 February 8
   (from)1799 March 21
   (to)1799 April 12
   (to)1799 December 12
   (to)1799 December 29
   (to)1800 January 16
   (to)1801 November 17
   (to)1802 August 13
   (from)1802 August 23
   (to)1802 October 21
   (to)1803 June 24
   (to)1803 November 21
   (to)1803 December 24
   (to)1804 July 15
   (to)1805 January 9
   (to)1805 January 24
   (to)1805 February 18
   (to)1806 October 5
Morhouse, Abraham (to)1798 August 3
Morris, Sen. Robert (memorandum, Morris, Nicholson, Moore, Beckley)1795 February 14
   (to)1795 April 9
   (from)1795 October 5
   (to)1797 March 1
   (from)1797 June 7
   (from)1797 August 8
   (from)1797 August 14
   (to)1798 December 7
   (to)1799 January 18
   (to)1799 February 2
Mosby, Wade (to)1797 December 20
Muhlenberg, F. A. C., Speaker of the House (to)1793 June 22
Newton, Rep. Thomas (to)1798 April 23
Nicholas, Philip Norborne (to)1798 January 19
   (to)1798 May 3
   (to)1798 November 20
   (to)1799 March 5
Nicholson, John, Comptroller of Pennsylvania (from)1797 February 20
   (from)1797 March 8
Osmont, Louis (to)1799 March 22
Payne, Mrs. Mary, James Madison’s mother-in-law (to)1798 April 11
Peale, Charles Wilson, Artist (from)1805 February 2
Penrose, Jonathan (to)1798 March 26
Polock, Isaac (to)1797 December 18
   (to)1798 January 12
   (to)1798 January 17
   (to)1798 July 3
   (to)1798 July 24
   (to)1798 July 28
Potomac Company (to)1785 May 12
Prevost, Mallet, Mrs. Aaron Burr’s brother-in-law (to)1798 December 5
Price, William, Register of Virginia Land Office (to)1798 July 13
   (to)1799 February 2
Prince, Isaac, Beckley’s brother-in-law (to)1807 January 10
Prince, James, Beckley’s brother-in-law (to)1798 June 18
Pullen, Robert (to)1798 January 4
Randolph, Edmund, Secretary of State (to)1783 June 20
   (from)1795 November 19
   (to)1797 June 9
   (to)1798 March 21
   (to)1798 June 18
   (to)1799 February 4
   (to)1799 March 4
Rodney, Caesar, Attorney General (to)1802 August 11
Rush, Dr. Benjamin (to)1802 November 8
   (to)1806 May 24
Shelly, Miss Hannah (to)1798 July 10
Shippey, Josiah (to)1798 April 26
   (to)1798 July 3
Skipwith, Fulwar, US. Consul (to)1798 April 12
Smith, Meriwether, Member of the Continental Congress (from)1781 May 13
Smith, Samuel Harrison, Editor (to)1806 February 28
Smyth, Richard (to)1797 June 15
Steele, Robert (to)1798 May 19
Stuart, Col. John (to)1794 March 12
   (to)1798 January 5
   (from)1798 February 16
   (to)1804 July 5
   (to)1804 August 2
Swan, James (to)1798 January 12
Tatnall, Colonel [?] (to)1799 March 17
Tazewell, Sen. Littleton (to)1797 June 16
   (to)1799 January 27
   (to)1799 February 14
   (to)1799 March 2
   (to)1799 April 14
   (to)1799 July 7
   (to)1799 September 20
   (to)1799 October 20
   (to)1799 November 5
   (to)1801 May 21
Thilman, Paul (to)1799 February 23
Thompson, George (to)1797 December 18
Thornton, Dr. William (to)1799 February 23
   (to)1799 March 6
   (to)1799 March 11
Tilly, Peter (to)1797 November 20
Trenchard, James (to)1797 June 10
   (to)1797 June 15
   (to)1797 July 8
Tucker, Judge St. George (to)1783 October 11
   (from)1783 October 13
   (to)1784 April 26
   (to)1786 October 4
   (from)1790 July 27
   (to)1790 August 30
Van Mannierck, Anthony (to)1799 March 29
Washington City, Commissioners of (to)1799 March 11
   (from)1799 March 18
   (to)1799 March 21
   (to)1799 April 1
   (from)1799 April 3
Washington, George (to)1784 April 2
   (from)1785 February 5
   (to)1785 February 11
Whelen, Israel (to)1797 June 16
Whitley, Maj. William (to)1798 January 4
Wilcocks, Alexander (to)1801 May 15
   (from)1801 June 30
Witherspoon, Jonathan (from)1797 April [?]
Wolcott, Oliver, Secretary of the Treasury (to)1795 October 23
   (from)1795 October 24
   (to)1795 October 27
   (from)1795 October 28
   (to)1795 October 29
   (to)1795 November 5
Wynkoop, Rep. Henry (to)1797 June 23



Guide to Writings

Political Writings

1792 August 25From Mercator, “For the National Gazette.” [Imposts and the “obscure diction of the Secretary of the Treasury.]
1792 September 1-September 8From Mercator, “Remarks on a late authentic document, published by the Treasury Department...” Parts I-II
1792 October 27From A Calm Observer, “Mr. Freneau.” [Remarks on a piece signed “Medicus”].
1793 March 27-April 13Timon, “To the Freeman of the United States.” [Speculation and “papermen.”] Parts I-II.
1795 MarchFrom A Calm Observer, “...succinct and accurate account of the endeavour used in Congress establish a standing army.”
1795 July 14From A Calm Observer, “In a free government...” [On the Jay Treaty].
1795 October 23-November 5From A Calm Observer, “To Oliver Wolcott, Esq.” [Washington’s salary.]
1796 October 29From A Subscriber, “Mr. Fenno”... [respecting the conduct of Mr. Jefferson.]
1799 January 27From A Calm Observer, “Political Calculations.” [Cost of U.S. Navy compared to that of the British]
1800 March 28From Senex, “For the Aurora.” [Charles Pinckney]
1800 JulyFrom Americanus, “To the People of the United States.” [Defense of Thomas Jefferson.]
1800 August 27-September 26From Senex, “To the Author of a pamphlet entitled ‘Serious Considerations, on the election of a president....” Parts I-IV.
1800 September 1From Valerius, “To the Rev. Mr. Abercrombie.” [On Jefferson’s religion.]
1800 September 6From Veritas, “To James Gallagher, jun’r.” [In defense of Dallas.]
1800 September 20A Friend of Christianity, “The Religion of Thomas Jefferson Exemplified.”
1801 March 4John Beckley, Inauguration Oration [Philadelphia].
1801 July 4John Beckley, Fourth of July Oration [Philadelphia]
1801 September 16John Beckley, “To the Democratic Republican Citizens of Philadelphia.” [Election announcement]
1802 September 8-September 14Andrew Marvel, “To the Citizens of the U. States...A Concise History of the Duties on Salt, brown sugar, Bohea Tea and Coffee...” Parts I-II.
1802 September 13John Beckley, “Statement.” [Arnold’s invasion and Jefferson].

Miscellaneous Writings

1791 OctoberRough Memorandum Book and Treatise Outline                                    
1801 August 10Affidavit of Beckley and the Israels
1807 April 25John Beckley’s will, probated
1807 May 28John Beckley’s estate inventory


1782 July 12                  “One Hundred Dollars Reward.” [Lost horse]
1782 July 27“Ten Dollars Reward.” [Runaway African-American servant, Joe]
1783 July 12“Ten Dollars Reward.” [Lost horse]
1783 August 16"Twenty Dollars Reward.” [Lost horse]
1784 October 23Information requested regarding Richard Brocas.
1797 May 22“To the Citizens of Philadelphia.” [Loss of clerkship and start of legal practice.]
1797 June 2“Attorney at Law and Conveyancer.” [Opening of law office]
1802 November 3“170,038 Acres of Land.” [Montgomery County]
1804 September 12“Advertisement of Land.” [Wayne and Tallahassee Counties, Ga.]
1805 July 17“To be Sold or exchanged for other property in the City or its vicinity.” [Kentucky land]
1806 April 7“Caution.” against “taking an assignment” of Beckley’s bond to John Phillibrown.
1806 April 30“The subscriber is ready to receive” [bids for the supply of wood for the House of Representatives].
1807 March 25“Public Notice.” [Request for printing and stationery bids for supplying the House of Representatives].

Last updated: June 20, 2003