Envisaging the West: Thomas Jefferson and the Roots of Lewis and Clark



Washington, George

Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Pendleton, August 26, 1776 Thomas Jefferson writes to Pendleton of his hopes for the new nation and practical plans for the election of the Senate and the establishment of boundaries. Thomas Jefferson also writes of battles in the early days of the American Revolution.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, December 10, 1779 Thomas Jefferson informs George Washington of a conflict in Congress over reimbursing Colonel Theodrick Bland for expenses incurred at the Barracks at Albemarle. Jefferson encloses important extracts from an act in the Virginia Assembly that ensures land issued to officers, soldiers, and sailors will remain unsettled until the veterans, or their heirs, are able to take possession.

George Washington to Francçois Jean, marquis de Chastellux, October 12, 1783 George Washington recounts his trip into western New York and contemplates the possibilities for the navigation of plentiful western waterways, writing of "the immense diffusion and importance of it; and with the goodness of that Providence which has dealt her favors to us with so profuse a hand."

George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, March 29, 1784 George Washington writes of the importance of water routes into the western territories of the United States. Washington also refers to the Maryland/Virginia conflict over commerce on the Potomac River and the resolution of the matter.

Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, May 21, 1784 Thomas Jefferson worries about the evolving western borders and territory of the United States.

George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, September 26, 1785 While anticipating the arrival of Houdon, who is to begin the sculpture commissioned by the State of Virginia, George Washington informs Thomas Jefferson that subscriptions for inland expeditions up the Potomac and James Rivers have all been sold to American investors. Washington also informs Jefferson of the Virginia Assembly's developing plans for the western part of the state, particularly in relation to North Carolina and Kentucky.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, May 10, 1789 Thomas Jefferson expresses his hopes for the future exploration and navigation of the Ohio and Potomac Rivers, adding a discussion about other avenues of water navigation that could promote western expansion and commerce. Jefferson also informs Washington he hopes to return to the United States, having appealed to John Jay for permission to do so. The letter also includes references to the role of the Marquis de la Fayette in French politics.

George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, August 27, 1790 George Washington asks for Thomas Jefferson's opinions on a variety of security concerns on the United States' western borders, particularly given the threat of British/Spanish hostilities. Jefferson answered on August 28, 1790.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, August 28, 1790 Thomas Jefferson responds to George Washington's concerns, expressed in his August 27, 1790 report to Jefferson, over British expansion in the West. Jefferson is particularly concerned with the United States' position in the event of a conflict between England and Spain.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, August 29, 1790 As tensions simmer between Great Britain and Spain, Thomas Jefferson writes to George Washington about the possibility of British troops crossing American soil to confront the Spanish. In this note, he offers further comments to the note penned August 28, 1790.

Thomas Jefferson to Gouverneur Morris, November 26, 1790 Thomas Jefferson writes to Gouverneur Morris regarding tensions in Congress over expansion and finances and violence with Native groups along the Ohio.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, April 2, 1791 Thomas Jefferson summarizes for George Washington the diplomatic maneuvering of Spain and the United States on the subject of Florida and western settlements.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, December 22, 1791 Thomas Jefferson advises President Washington on the prospects of negotiations with the Spanish and urges him to direct commissioners to focus on the navigation of the Mississippi.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, March 10, 1793 In his official capacity as Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson writes to George Washington, reiterating the boundaries of the western frontiers of the United States, particularly as they apply to treaties with Native groups.

Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, March 11, 1793 Thomas Jefferson writes to Henry Lee about extending the Virginia/Kentucky line and the prospects for settlement. Regarding Virginia's unsettled boundary with the southwestern territory, Thomas Jefferson anticipates population growth and formal organization in that region.

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, January 22, 1793 Thomas Jefferson forwards information about subscriptions for Michaux's journey to George Washington.

Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael and William Short, June 30, 1793 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Carmichael and William Short, the United States' commissioners in Spain, addressing ongoing tensions with Spain. Spanish authorities viewed American settlements in the West with great suspicion and accused the United States of encouraging Native groups to violence. Jefferson addresses both the accusations and the United States' policies towards the Chickasaw and Creek Nations.