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 In 1823 he returned to Boston to be the editor of The North American review. This journal was then languishing under the editorship of Edward Everett, but Sparks secured control and placed it on a sound basis. In 1830, when he sold his last remaining share in the enterprise, he had received $19,000 besides an annual salary of $2200. Sparks gave up the Review to devote himself to history. As early as 1824 he formed a plan to produce a complete edition of Washington's writings. He intended to write history that paid and did not think it discreditable to have an eye on the popular demand. In 1826 and 1827 he made journeys through the original thirteen states collecting materials from unpublished documents. In 1828 and 1829 he visited Europe and was given access to the British and French archives. By this time he was full of enthusiasm. ‘I have got a passion for Revolutionary history,’ he said, ‘and the more I look into it the more I am convinced that no complete history of the American Revolution has been written.’ At this time he was full of schemes, each connected with the Revolution, and several works came out of them. But always in the back of his mind lay the plan of a great documentary history of the Revolution. While preparing the edition of Washington he learned from President John Quincy Adams that in 1818 Congress had appropriated money to publish the foreign correspondence of the Continental Congress during the Revolution. Adams was then too busy to give the matter his attention, and nothing was done about it. Sparks caught at the suggestion that he should take it up, and he made an agreement with Secretary Clay by which he was to print and sell to Congress one thousand copies of this correspondence at $2.12 1/2 a copy and to have $400 a volume for copying and editing. The work was done in eighteen months and for the entire set of twelve volumes the editor received $30,300. As his chief expense was for printing and translations, his net earnings must have been considerable. In the following year (1830), he proposed to Secretary Van Buren that the work be continued through the period of the Continental Congress. Van Buren agreed, and Congress passed the necessary act, but at the last moment the new secretary of state, Edward Livingston, made the contract with Frank P. Blair. Livingston blandly admitted
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