August 26, 1776 | Letter 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.
December 10, 1779 | Letter 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.
January 24, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Martin, January 24, 1780 Thomas Jefferson instructs Joseph Martin, agent to the Cherokee, to purchase or trade for land for Fort Jefferson, currently being plotted by George Rogers Clark.
January 29, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, January 29, 1780 Thomas Jefferson issues instructions for the construction of a fort on the Falls of the Ohio, offering the services of surveyors Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith, who are in the field plotting a line between North Carolina and Virginia. Addressing the need to defend the western frontier from British advances, Jefferson authorizes Clark's recruitment of a battalion of soldiers, with land warrants issued as payment. Jefferson also expresses concern over the establishment of peaceful relations with French settlers and Native groups already in the region.
January 29, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson To Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith, January 29, 1780 In this secret communique, Thomas Jefferson instructs the surveyors to assist George Rogers Clark in selecting a spot for the fort to be constructed at the falls of the Ohio River.
April 19, 1780 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, April 19, 1780 Thomas Jefferson writes to George Rogers Clark with concerns about the planned fortifications at the mouth of the Ohio River.
February 20, 1782 | Letter George Rogers Clark to Thomas Jefferson, February 20, 1782 George Rogers Clark writes of western fossils and "Curious work of Antiquity."
May 30, 1782 | Letter Virginia Commission for the Use of Western Territory The Assembly of Virginia appoints five individuals to study the uses of the state's Western Territory.
November 26, 1782 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, November 26, 1782 Responding to George Rogers Clark's February 20 missive, Thomas Jefferson encourages him to send fossil and "notes as to the Indians, information of the country between the Missisipi and waters of the South sea &c."
November 29, 1782 | Letter Arthur Campbell to Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1782 Arthur Campbell writes to Thomas Jefferson about fossil finds in the West and possible a possible western border that may result from negotiations with the British.
October 12, 1783 | Letter 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."
December 4, 1783 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Rogers Clark, December 4, 1783 Thomas Jefferson expresses concern over supposed British plans to explore North America from the Mississippi River to California and asks Clark if he would be willing to undertake such an exploration on behalf of the United States. Jefferson also addresses the ongoing Congressional debate over the location of the new capitol, believing a site on the Potomac River would be amenable to western states as they form.
January 24, 1784 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Hutchins, January 24, 1784 Thomas Jefferson writes to geographer Thomas Hutchins with questions and remarks about one of Hutchins' pamphlets, "A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, Comprehending the Rivers Ohio, Kenhawa, Sioto, Cherokee, Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi, &c...With a Plan of the Rapids of the Ohio, A Plan of the Several Villages in the Illinois Country, a Table of the Distances Between Fort Pitt and the Mouth of the Ohio." In his remarks, Jefferson notes several mistakes in the work.
February 8, 1784 | Letter George Rogers Clark to Thomas Jefferson, February 8, 1784 Responding to Thomas Jefferson's December 4, 1783, missive, George Rogers Clark regretfully opts out of any future U.S. expedition to the West. Clark does suggest that such an expedition be undertaken by a small group of men schooled in Native languages and traditions.
February 11, 1784 | Letter Thomas Hutchins to Thomas Jefferson, February 11, 1784 Thomas Hutchins responds to Thomas Jefferson's January 24, 1784 note questioning calculations made in one of Hutchins' pamphlets, "A Topographical Description of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and North Carolina, Comprehending the Rivers Ohio, Kenhawa, Sioto, Cherokee, Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi, &c...With a Plan of the Rapids of the Ohio, A Plan of the Several Villages in the Illinois Country, a Table of the Distances Between Fort Pitt and the Mouth of the Ohio."
March 29, 1784 | Letter 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.
May 21, 1784 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, May 21, 1784 Thomas Jefferson worries about the evolving western borders and territory of the United States.
September 26, 1785 | Letter 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.
January 25, 1786 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart, January 25, 1786 Thomas Jefferson thanks Archibald Stuart for his correspondence and worries over the United States' financial help and credit abroad. Jefferson writes that Kentucky's possible cession would be disastrous to his hopes that the new nation serve as the core of settlement for both North and South America.
February 7, 1786 | Letter John Ledyard to Thomas Jefferson, February 7, 1786 John Ledyard warns Thomas Jefferson that Native accounts of fossil origins may not be reliable.
April 27, 1786 | Letter Samuel Parsons to Ezra Stiles, Forwarded to Thomas Jefferson, April 27, 1786 Samuel Parsons describes the fossils and ancient fortifications he encountered on his travels along the Ohio River during the Fall/Winter of 1785. Parsons letter to Stiles was forwarded to Jefferson, who was extremely interested in the discoveries along Big Bone Lick and the Ohio River.
May 8, 1786 | Letter Ezra Stiles to Thomas Jefferson, May 8, 1786 Ezra Stiles pens a note to Thomas Jefferson, introducing Samuel Wales of Yale University. Stiles also prefaces the enclosed letter from Samuel Parsons (see Samuel Parsons to Ezra Stiles, April 27, 1786.)
August 16, 1786 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Ledyard, August 16, 1786 Thomas Jefferson writes to John Ledyard expressing hopes that his explorations will prove useful.
July 13, 1787 | Letter Northwest Ordinance, July 13 1787. Setting the stage for western expansion, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 shaped the development of the territory north and west of the Ohio River.
August 8, 1787 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Richard Claiborne, August 8, 1787 In this brief note, Thomas Jefferson writes that the best settlers for Western lands would be industrious Germans.
August 10, 1787 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787 Thomas Jefferson outlines the rudiments of a gentleman's education, noting the importance of the Spanish language to the future dealings of the United States. He also recommends several works of North American geography/history.
January 7, 1788 | Letter John Ledyard to Thomas Jefferson, July 1788 The renowned explorer shares his thoughts on racial/ethnic differences, and the possibility of Noah's Flood as an explanation for human diversity.
March 24, 1789 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard, March 24, 1789 Thomas Jefferson writes to Joseph Willard, primarily concerned with recent European scientific publications. Jefferson segues into a brief discussion of the scientific possibilities inherent in the exploration of North America, and the development of science by a people concerned with freedom and virtue.
May 10, 1789 | Letter 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.
November 21, 1789 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Short, November 21, 1789 This letter illustrates Thomas Jefferson's interest in, and knowledge of, weather and the science of measurement, as he recounts the tribulations of a sea voyage.
July 11, 1790 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, July 11, 1790 Thomas Jefferson writes to James Monroe about paying the public debt and Congress' willingness to do so. Jefferson believes establishing the nation's credit is critical to showing its ability to go to war should England and Spain do so. Jefferson hopes to avoid conflict: "Our object is to feed & theirs to fight." Jefferson worries that English and Spanish designs on North America would leave the United States surrounded by potential aggressors.
August 2, 1790 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, August 2, 1790 The importance of the Mississippi River to American growth and economic success is uppermost in Jefferson's mind as Spain and England seem on the brink of war.
August 26, 1790 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Knox, August 26, 1790 Thomas Jefferson discusses the Treaty of Hopewell and its ramifications for national expansion, particularly in regard to treaties made between states and native groups.
November 26, 1790 | Letter 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.
March 7, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Innes, March 7, 1791 Thomas Jefferson continues correspondence with Henry Innes about native history in the western regions of the United States. Jefferson also laments the problems George Rogers Clark is having, likely as a result of ongoing financial and health issues.
March 12, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, March 12, 1791 Tension along the Mississippi River worries Thomas Jefferson, who asks William Carmichael to clarify the position of the Spanish regarding navigation of the Mississippi below the mouth of the Ohio River.
March 12, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Short, March 12, 1791 Tensions with European powers create worries for Thomas Jefferson as he writes to William Short with concerns over the navigation of the Mississippi.
April 2, 1791 | Letter 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.
August 10, 1791 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Henry Knox, August 10, 1791 The validity of private contracts with Native American groups in the face of Federal and state authority is addressed in this letter concerning the South Yazoo Company.
February 25, 1792 | Letter David Campbell to Thomas Jefferson, February 25, 1792 David Campbell writes to Thomas Jefferson, outlining the difficulties in establishing federal authority in the newly organized Southwest Territory. Significantly, Campbell argues for the supremacy of the Constitution over North Carolina state law in the region and asserts that the land and property of Native groups should be left unmolested.
March 27, 1792 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to David Campbell March 27, 1792 Thomas Jefferson replies to David Campbell, in response to Campbell's letter of February 25, 1792, thanking him for his commentary on Western law. Jefferson also expresses concern over the seizure of Native American lands, concerned that an Indian War would be expensive.
January 22, 1793 | Letter George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, January 22, 1793 George Washington responds to Jefferson's note about Michaux's expedition and asks that his name be added to the subscription list.
January 23, 1793 | Letter American Philosophical Society Members Subscribe to Andre Michaux's Expedition Thomas Jefferson's draft of the pledge of the subscribers to the Andre Michaux expedition.
January 23, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Andre Michaux, January 23, 1793 Thomas Jefferson's instructions for Andre Michaux's proposed western expedition.
March 11, 1793 | Letter 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.
April 10, 1793 | Letter David Rittenhouse to Thomas Jefferson, April 10, 1793 David Rittenhouse asks Thomas Jefferson for direction in the planning of the Andrew Michaux expedition.
April 10, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, January 22, 1793 Thomas Jefferson forwards information about subscriptions for Michaux's journey to George Washington.
April 11, 1793 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to David Rittenhouse, April 11, 1793 Thomas Jefferson responds to David Rittenhouse's April 10 inquiry about planning Michaux's expedition and desires that the Philosophical Society meet.
June 30, 1793 | Letter 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.
February 6, 1795 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Francois Ivernois, February 6, 1785 Thomas Jefferson expresses hopes for the development of higher education and the sciences in America.
July 3, 1796 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Jonathan Williams, July 3, 1796 Thomas Jefferson discusses "barometrical measurements" of the Virginia mountains. Jefferson also notes his ongoing interest in agricultural researches.
May 29, 1797 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Pinckney, May 29, 1797 Tensions in Congress draw Thomas Jefferson's attention, as does Spain's cession of territory to France. Thomas Jefferson discusses political and diplomatic affairs, concerned over tensions with England and Spain. Additional worries about hostilities along the western borders occupy his thoughts.
June 17, 1797 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Aaron Burr, June 17, 1797 Thomas Jefferson contemplates the actions of the newly seated Congress in the light of foreign pressure and partisan politics. Jefferson's worries about the changing character of American politics are focused on expansion and the possibility of serious French colonization in Louisiana.
February 12, 1799 | Letter Daniel Clark to Thomas Jefferson, February 12, 1799 Daniel Clark, of New Orleans, writes to Thomas Jefferson on behalf of Philip Nolan, promising a summary of Nolan's information and impressions about New Mexico and the Louisiana Territory. Clark also uses the letter to introduce Jefferson to the work of William Dunbar.
June 24, 1799 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, June 24, 1799 Thomas Jefferson writes his first letter to William Dunbar, who had been recommended to him by Daniel Clark. Jefferson asks Dunbar for information on the land and inhabitants of the "regions beyond" the Mississippi River, making particular note of the importance of recording the languages of indigenous peoples as a means to understanding their origins.
November 12, 1799 | Letter Daniel Clark to Thomas Jefferson, November 12, 1799 Daniel Clark writes of Philip Nolan's close brush with death in New Mexico and informs Jefferson of Nolan's plan to travel to the United States. Clarks takes the liberty of sending along a box of pecans for Jefferson.
January 16, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, January 16, 1800 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Dunbar, thanking him for promised communications about Native languages from Western groups and meteorological observations that may be used in comparative studies. Reports from Dunbar were read at the American Philosophical Society and several appear in the "Reports" section of this archive.
January 27, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, January 27, 1800 Thomas Jefferson writes to Joseph Priestley of his hopes for American education, including public lands for educational institutions.
January 29, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Breckinridge, January 29, 1800 Thomas Jefferson advocates the creation of a separate Western judiciary in the newly laid-out regions. The tumult in France causes him to worry over the fate of the American Republic.
May 29, 1800 | Letter Daniel Clark to Thomas Jefferson, May 29, 1800 Daniel Clark writes to Jefferson of Philip Nolan's departure for the United States, and notes that an inhabitant of the land "West of the Mississippi" accompanies him for Jefferson's edification, so that he may be "the first to acquire particular information of a Country now almost unknown to the U.S."
November 29, 1800 | Letter James Wilkinson to Thomas Jefferson, November 29, 1800 James Wilkinson introduces Thomas Jefferson to the work of William Dunbar and offers his own map of the Mississippi Territory.
December 16, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, December 16, 1800 Thomas Jefferson introduces Caspar Wistar to the work of William Dunbar, excited at the prospect of a scientific correspondent "on the very verge of the great terra incognita of our western continent."
December 16, 1800 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, December 16, 1800 In a personal addition to his other letter of December 16, 1800, Thomas Jefferson assures Caspar Wistar of William Dunbar's fitness for membership in the American Philosophical Society.
January 12, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, January 12, 1801 Thomas Jefferson acknowledges William Dunbar's July 14, 1800 letter and enclosures; he also touches on other scientific matters and expresses his satisfaction at having a scientific correspondent on the western edge of the country.
March 20, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph-Mathias Gerard de Rayneval, March 20, 1801 Thomas Jefferson addresses the history and purposes of the Ohio, Wabash, and Loyal Land Companies in this letter about Conrad Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval's financial difficulties with the Wabash Company. State cession of lands to the companies are germane to the discussion.
May 26, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, May 26, 1801 Thomas Jefferson writes to James Monroe of business dealings and then mentions his fear that Spain would cede Louisiana and the Floridas to the French.
July 13, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William C. C. Claiborne, July 13, 1801 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Claiborne with news of his appointment as Governor of Mississippi, noting the importance of the region as "the principal point of contact between Spain and us, & also as it is the embryo of a very great state." Jefferson also warns Claiborne of the importance of encouraging the residents of Mississippi to embrace party politics similar to his.
August 22, 1801 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, August 22, 1801 William Dunbar writes to Thomas Jefferson of scientific matters, including the properties of rainbows. Dunbar anticipates fossil finds west of the Mississippi River, based on information forwarded by the late Philip Nolan. This letter, with several other missives and reports written by Dunbar, were forward by Jefferson to the American Philosphical Society, where they were read before the Society and later published in theTransactions of the Philosophical Society of Americain 1809. See the "Reports" section of this archive.
November 24, 1801 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, November 24, 1801 Thomas Jefferson wonders about the possible use of Western territory for slaves or free blacks in the aftermath of Gabriel's Rebellion. He is concerned about the possible repercussions for domestic and international relations if they are sent west or remain on the continent; St. Domingo seems a good possible destination.
April 18, 1802 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Robert Livingston, April 18, 1802 Thomas Jefferson sends a cipher to Robert Livingston, as well as his musings on the cession of Louisiana.
November 29, 1802 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, November 29, 1802 Thomas Jefferson writes of civil government, the first principles of government, and France. He mentions the possible cession of Louisiana to France.
February 27, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith Barton, February 27, 1803 Thomas Jefferson informs Benjamin Smith Barton of Meriwether Lewis' upcoming journey, excited at the prospect of the scientific advances that will result.
February 28, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, February 28, 1803 Thomas Jefferson informs Benjamin Rush of Meriwether Lewis' upcoming trip west, asking Rush to assist Lewis in any way possible. Jefferson then details his ongoing digestive problems.
February 28, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Caspar Wistar, February 28, 1803 Jefferson informs Wistar of the upcoming expedition and of his faith in Meriwether Lewis.
March 2, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Robert Patterson, March 2, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to Robert Patterson of the planned expedition west, asking him to help prepare Meriwether Lewis for taking geographical measurements.
March 3, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, March 3, 1803 After thanking William Dunbar for earlier correspondence, including Martin Duralde's report to the American Philosophical Society, Thomas Jefferson expresses hopes that American rights to the Mississippi River can be maintained without war; the President also anticipates the acquisition of Native lands on the left bank of the river to "plant on the Missisipi itself the means of it's own defence."
March 6, 1803 | Letter Andrew Ellicott to Thomas Jefferson, March 6, 1803 Andrew Ellicott writes of his willingness to train Meriwether Lewis in taking measurements on his trip westward.
March 14, 1803 | Letter Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson, March 14, 1803 Albert Gallatin informs Thomas Jefferson of the preparations he has made for the Corps of Discovery expedition, including commissioning Nicholas King's blank projection of western North America. Gallatin demonstrates his familiarity with the work of cartographers including Arrowsmith, Delisle, and Mackenzie, assuming Jefferson has the same background knowledge.
March 15, 1803 | Letter Robert Patterson to Thomas Jefferson, March 15, 1803 Robert Patterson explains the mathematical formulas he will show Meriwether Lewis in preparing him for his journey. Please note, the complex nature of the formulas and examples makes it more feasible to leave them off of the transcribed document than include them; see the images for a complete rendition of Patterson's work.
March 20, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, March 20, 1803 As Jefferson and Albert Gallatin plan Lewis and Clark's expedition, questions over geography and cartography continue as Jefferson reveals his familiarity with maps of the West.
April 3, 1803 | Letter Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, April 3, 1803 Meriwether Lewis writes to Jefferson regarding his preparations, including his many communications with men of science. Lewis includes his plans for a collapsible boat.
April 13, 1803 | Letter Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson, April 13, 1803 Albert Gallatin responds to Jefferson's planned instructions to Lewis by stressing the importance of evaluating the suitability of the parts of the trans-Missouri region not included in the Louisiana Purchase. He wonders if British appropriation of the region is a possibility.
April 17, 1803 | Letter Levi Lincoln to Thomas Jefferson, April 17, 1803 Levi Lincoln offers suggestions for the Corps of Discovery's trip and warns Thomas Jefferson of strong objections from the opposition.
April 22, 1803 | Letter From Thomas Jefferson to Lewis Harvie, April 22, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to Lewis Harvie, informing him of Meriwether Lewis' progress in preparing for his expedition. Jefferson also reassures Harvie that questions between Spain and France over the Louisiana Territory will not interfere with the United States' acquisition of the region.
April 23, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, April 23, 1803 Thomas Jefferson worries that lengthy preparations are keeping Meriwether Lewis from a swift departure, fearing a delay to the expedition.
April 27, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, April 27, 1803 Thomas Jefferson informs Meriwether Lewis he will be forwarding copies of his instructions for the journey into the Louisiana Territory. The instructions may be shown to members of the American Philosophical Society, in case they would make any modifications.
April 30, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, April 30, 1803 Thomas Jefferson encourages Meriwether Lewis to follow Andrew Ellicott's advice on scientific matters involving astronomical measurements.
May 13, 1803 | Letter Bernard Lacépède to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1803 Bernard Lacépède applauds Jefferson's dedication to exploration and expansion, predicting success and the expansion of United States trade and communication because of it.
June 11, 1803 | Letter Benjamin Rush to Meriwether Lewis, June 11, 1803 Benjamin Rush writes instructions for Meriwether Lewis, who is about to undertake his trip westward.
June 20, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, June 20, 1803 Thomas Jefferson issues detailed instructions to Meriwether Lewis, addressing every aspect of the upcoming expedition.
July 17, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, July 17, 1803 Thomas Jefferson writes to William Dunbar of the acquisition of Louisiana Territory, asking for information and statistics to place before the Congress.
August 9, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, August 9, 1803 Thomas Jefferson expresses his pleasure at the Louisiana Purchase, and explains the importance of the territory as a buffer against Spanish expansion.
September 8, 1803 | Letter Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, September 8, 1803 Meriwether Lewis updates Thomas Jefferson on his progress preparing for the westward expedition.
September 21, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, September 21, 1803 Thomas Jefferson questions William Dunbar about Spanish borders in the Louisiana Territory.
October 3, 1803 | Letter Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson, October 3, 1803 While pausing to provision his expedition, Meriwether Lewis writes to Thomas Jefferson about the scientific explorations at Big Bone Lick and his plans for the trip westward.
October 21, 1803 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, October 21, 1803 William Dunbar responds to Thomas Jefferson's September 21 letter regarding the Spanish presence in Florida and the Gulf Coast and the surveys conducted by the Spanish in that region. He also praises Daniel Clark's summation of the population of the Lousiana Territory and suggests a representative from that region appear before Congress, but notes that the Spanish government is unlikely to allow such a measure to take place as long as the territory is in their hands.
October 21, 1803 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, October 21, 1803 William Dunbar writes to Thomas Jefferson regarding the Spanish presence in Florida and the Gulf Coast and the surveys conducted by the Spanish in that region. He also praises George Rogers Clark's summation of the population of the Lousiana Territory and suggests a representative from that region appear before Congress, but notes that the Spanish government is unlikely to allow such a measure to take place as long as the territory is in their hands.
November 16, 1803 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, November 16, 1803 Thomas Jefferson updates Meriwether Lewis on political activity around the event of the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson includes notes from the explorer Truteau that detail population and activities of some native groups living west of the Mississippi.
January 22, 1804 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Meriwether Lewis, January 22, 1804 Thomas Jefferson informs Meriwether Lewis of the steps the United States is taking to consolidate its position in the land along the Mississippi.
January 28, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, January 28, 1804 William Dunbar sends notes to Jefferson concerning the Mississippi River Valley; he believes the notes could be read before the Philosphical Society; see the "Reports" section of this archive for several of Dunbar's dispatches on the Mississippi River region. Dunbar continues with a discussion of the development of Natchez and the establishment of a college there.
March 13, 1804 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to William Dunbar, March 13, 1804 Thomas Jefferson thanks William Dunbar for his letter of January 28, promising to forward his paper on the Mississippi River to the American Philosophical Society. Jefferson then writes a detailed discussion of the science of water in a river like the Mississippi. Jefferson also relates his plans for directing surveying parties to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, in addition to explorations of the Red and other more southern waterways. Jefferson concludes with speculations on the future of the Lousiana Territory.
May 13, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1804 William Dunbar thanks Thomas Jefferson for his comments about Dunbar's notes on the Mississippi River. Spain's land sales in Western Florida draw the author's attention and Dunbar offers approval of continuing explorations on America's western rivers, while bemoaning Congress' reluctance to adequately fund such expeditions.
November 9, 1804 | Letter William Dunbar to Thomas Jefferson, November 9, 1804 William Dunbar relates the beginnings of his exploration of the Red River, including ventures into former Spanish territory. He also relates general scientific information of interest to Jefferson.
September 21, 1814 | Letter Thomas Jefferson to Samuel H. Smith, September 21, 1814 Following the destruction of Washington by the British, Jefferson writes to Samuel H. Smith offering his own extensive library to Congress, noting his strategies for book acquisition over the course of his career. Jefferson's search for books about North America draws particular attention.