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


Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Claiborne

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Claiborne, August 8, 1787
Thomas Jefferson, Library of Congress
In this brief note, Thomas Jefferson writes that the best settlers for Western lands would be industrious Germans.

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Paris Aug. 8. 1787.


I am of the opinion that American tenants for the Western lands could not be procured, & if they could they would be very unsure. the best as far as I have been able to judge are foreigners who do not speak the language: unable to communicate with the people of the country they confine themselves to their farms & their families, compare their present state to what it was in Europe & find great reason to be contented. of all foreigners I should prefer Germans. they are the easiest got, the best for their landlord, & do best for themselves. the deed in which you are interested having been sent to me the other day to be au thorized, I took the inclosed note of its particulars for you. I am with much esteem Sir

Your most obedient & most humble svt