To John Campbell White
Washington Jan. 27. 1803.
Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr White. he has read with satisfaction the plan of Doctr. Kirwan; and does not doubt it’s excellence for the country under his contemplation, or any other, under a single sovereignty. but the complicated form of our government would not admit of it. the constitution of the US. has not given to the general government the powers over the soil, nor the applications of money, which that would require. these powers remain with the ordinary legislature of every state, who alone could carry such a plan into effect, each within their own limits. he prays mr White to accept his thanks for the communication and his salutations.
John Campbell White (1757–1847) was an Irish doctor and merchant who immigrated to Baltimore in 1798 and immediately established himself as a prominent member of the city’s medical and business communities. He and his sons, many of whom also rose to commercial prominence, operated a merchant house and a successful gin distillery. White also served as president of the city’s Benevolent Hibernian Society. He wrote TJ again in 1816 to forward some melon seeds from Persia (Baltimore American and Commercial Daily Advertiser, 12 July 1802, 20 Mch. 1809; Baltimore Republican, or Anti-Democrat, 12 Dec. 1803; biographical information in MdHi: John Campbell White Papers; Vol. 29:45n; White to TJ, 13 Aug. 1816).
White apparently enclosed the plan of doctr. kirwan in a letter of 22 Jan., recorded in SJL as received from Baltimore on 24 Jan. but not found.