Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from the Tennessee General Assembly, 8 November 1803

From the Tennessee General Assembly


The Representatives of the people of Tennessee concieve it to be their duty to express their entire approbation of the Measures pursued by the Federal Government since the commencement of your administration and a full and complete confidence that such measures will be adopted as will maintain the respectability of the United States abroad—and promote the interest and harmony of our fellow citizens

It is with peculiar pleasure we have felt the fostering hand of the National Government extended towards our remote and infant State. Altho our chartered limits occupy a small spot within the United States and altho we are permitted to inhabit only a small part of our territory, yet we have the gratification of experiencing every aid the General Government can bestow in procuring the friendship of the Indian tribes and obtaining convenient passages through their territory

We enjoy a pleasing hope that the utmost exertions will be made by the General Government to extend the Indian boundary line: which would be all important, as well to those who enjoy their rights in the inhabited part of the State as to that part of our citizens who have labored under a deprivation of their property for twenty years—under the confidence that Government would procure an extinguishment of the Indian claim

this subject we are confidant will attract the attention of the Federal Government and recieve the friendly aid of the Executive

The negociation for Louisiana has been as highly appreciated by the citizens of Tennessee as by any others in the United States and we feel ourselves authorised to express an unbounded satisfaction at the event and acknowledge it to be the utmost effort of human wisdom.

Sorry are we to suppose there can be any inconvenience in obtaining possession of that desirable country. We feel a confidence from the measures now adopted that the freemen of Tennessee will be foremost in lending their aid to remove any difficulty that may occur from an opposition to the United States taking possession of New Orleans—

Should the measures adopted by the government of the United States be succeeded by the establishment of a Republican Government on the west of the Mississippi, it will remain an existing proof to future generations of the zeal of our government in dethroning ignorance and superstition and establishing in room thereof liberty and right—

In Senate read and unanimously James White
concured with & sent to the House  Speaker of the Senate
of Representatives—
James Trimble C.S.

House of representatives

James Stuart
November 8th 1803 Speaker of the
read and unanimously adopted house of representatives
Edw Scott C H R

RC (DLC); in Trimble’s hand, signed by White, Stuart, Trimble, and Scott; at head of text: “An address from the Legislature of the State of Tennessee to the President of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Nov. and so recorded in SJL.

James White (1747-1821) was a pioneer settler in Tennessee and founder of the town of Knoxville. He served in the state senate from 1796 to 1797 and from 1801 to 1805. Surveyor and tavern keeper James Stuart (1751-before 1816) represented Washington County in the house of representatives from 1796 to 1799 and from 1803 to 1805, serving as speaker during each of his three terms (Robert M. McBride and Dan M. Robison, Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly, 2 vols. [Nashville, 1975-79], 1:704, 779-80).

Index Entries