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


Report from Thomas Jefferson to George Washington

Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, March 10, 1793
Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress
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.

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The Secretary of State, according to instructions received from the President of the United States, Reports,

That, for the information of the commissioners appointed to treat with the western Indians, he has examined the several treaties entered into with them subsequent to the declaration of Independence, and relating to the lands between the Ohio Maps: and the lakes, and also the extent of the grants, reservations, and appropriations of the same lands, made either by the United States, or by individual States within the same period, and finds that the lands obtained by the said treaties, and not so granted, reserved, or appropriated, are bounded by the following lines, to wit:

Northwardly. By a line running from the fork of the Tuscarora's branch of the Muskingum Maps: , at the crossing-place above Fort Lawrence. Westwardly (towards the portage of the Big-Miami) to the main branch of that river, then down the Miami Maps: , to the fork of that river next below the old fort, which was taken by the French in 1752, thence due west to the river De la Panse, and down that river to the Wabash Maps: ; which lines were established with the Wiandots, Delawares, Chippawas, and Ottawas, by the treaty of Fort McIntosh, and with the Shawanese by that of the Great Miami.

Westwardly. By the bounds of the Wabash Indians.

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Eastwardly. By the million of acres appropriated to military claimants, by the resolution of Congress of October 23, 1787, and lying in the angle between the seventh range of townships counted westwardly, from the Pennsylvania boundary, and the tenth range counted from the Ohio Maps: northwardly along the said seventh, which million of acres may perhaps extend westwardly, so as to comprehend the twelfth range of townships, counted in that direction from the Pennsylvania boundary, under which view the said twelfth range may be assumed for the eastern boundary of the territory now under consideration, from the said tenth range to the Indian line.

Southwardly. By the northern boundary of the said tenth range of townships to the Sioto river Maps: , and along the said river to what shall be the northern limits of the appropriations for the Virginia lines; (which two last lines are those of the lands granted to the Sioto company,) thence along what shall be the northern limits of the said appropriations of the Virginia Free to the little Miami Maps: , and along the same to what shall be the northern limits of one million of acres of land purchased by John C. Symmes; thence due, west along the said northern limit of the said John C. Symmes, to the Great Miami Maps: , and down the same to its mouth, then along the Ohio Maps: to General Clark's lands, and round the said lands to the Ohio Maps: again, and down the same to the Wabash Maps: , or the lands of the Indians

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inhabiting it. Which several lines are delineated on the copy of Hutchins' map accompanying this report; the dotted parts of the delineation denoting that they are conjectural. And it is further necessary to apprize the commissioners that though the points at which these several lines touch the Ohio Maps: , are taken from actual surveys, yet the country included by the said lines, not being laid down from actual survey, their lengths and intersections with each other, and with the water-courses, as appearing in the maps, are not at all to be relied on. No notice is here taken of the lands at the mouth of the Ohio Maps: appropriated for military bounties by the same resolution of Congress of October 22, 1787, nor of the settlement of Cahokea Maps: , Kaskaski, Post Vincennes, &c., because these can concern no Indians but those of the Illinois and Wabash whose interests should be transacted with themselves separately, and not be permitted to be placed under the patronage of the western Indians.

Th: Jefferson

Mar. 10. 1793