Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Preston, William Christian, and Joseph Martin, 24 March 1781

To William Preston, William Christian, and Joseph Martin

In Council March 24th. 1781


In Execution of the within resolution of Assembly you are hereby authorized whenever a proper Occasion shall present itself to meet with Commissioners from the State of North Carolina to treat with the Cherokee Indians on the Subject of Peace. I have taken the liberty of recommending to his Excellency the Governor of North Carolina to make an Appointment of such Commissioners on his part and have notified to him your authority that his Commissioners may be enabled to open a Correspondence with you on the Subject. Our present Situation to the Southward and Eastward renders peace on our Western Frontier very desirable.

The Resolution seems to suppose some Grounds of Complaint on the part of the Cherokees, as to their Boundary. As none such of late Date have come to my Knolege, I can only repeat to you the Assurances of the Legislature, that every just Complaint on that Subject shall be removed. You will be pleased to report to me any proceedings you may have on this Subject. As Sickness or Accident may prevent the Concurrence of the whole, Any two of you are hereby authorized to execute this Business. I am &c.,

T. J.

FC (Vi); at head of text: “Colo Preston, Colo Christian & Major Martin.” Enclosure (missing): Resolution of House of 20 Mch., agreed to by Senate the next day and reading as follows: “Resolved that the Governor with the advice of the Council be desired to take such steps for conciliating the Cherokee Indians as are conducive to the public good and the Present Circumstances of affairs shall render expedient and that the General Assembly will do whatever Justice shall require with respect to the Boundary Line between this Commonwealth and that Nation and will remove every Just complaint if any such is made on that Subject, and that the State of North Carolina be requested to give their concurrence in similar measures.” The Council considered the resolution on 24 Mch. and directed that the above letter be written (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , Mch. 1781, Va. State Libr., Bull., 1928, p. 44, 48; Va. Council Jour. description begins Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , ii, 318). See Christian to TJ, 10 Apr. 1781, and note there.

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