Thomas Jefferson Papers

Harry Innes to Thomas Jefferson, 9 August 1813

From Harry Innes

State of Kentucky August 9th 1813

Dear Sir,

Since your return from Europe I have heard it repeatedly stated that you had imported the genuine Shepherds dog & occasionally distributed them among your friends. Such an acquisition to this State will be of immense importance, as the people are turning their attention to the raising of Sheep & are rapidly progressing in the merino breeds.

If my information is correct & you still possess that species of Dog to spare, will it be possible to obtain a male & female either puppies or others. Should it be convenient to comply with my request, I can next Spring procure a conveyance for them thro’ the attention of my friend Judge Todd who will spend this winter in Washington & has promissed to send a special messenger to Monticello if you can make it convenient to spare two of your stock.

The request of two dogs may appear avaricious—but it is to secure the breed to our country for a common good as the remoteness of our situation from the Seaboard renders the obtaining such animals difficult & uncertain.

We have no certain intelligence from Ft Meigs at the rapids of the Miami of Lake Erie, but no fears are entertained for its safety, but there1 are of Genl Harrison should he attempt to raise the seige without having a decidedly superior force to the enemy—his troops are raw & undisciplined—& has a horrible Swamp of 20 or 30 miles to pass which at this time is from 9 to 18 inches deep with water & mud.

Governer Shelby is endeavouring to raise a Corps of Volunteers to reinforce Genl Harrison, instead of drafted2 militia, for the purpose of invading upper Canada, so soon as3 Com. Perry gets the asscendency on L.E. The Governor will command in person & I have no doubt of his inducing by his example the best sons of our State to accompany him & that the—real—Hero of Kingsmountain will add another wreathe of Laurel to his brow in the eve of life if an opportunity presents itself I shall be pleased by your answer as soon as convenient & shall be happy to hear of your enjoying good health & tranquil hours in the decline of your life

With sentiments of great respect & sincere friendship I am dear sir your mo. ob. servt

Harry Innes

Direct your answer to Frankfort—via Washington


RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 14 Sept. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

Harry Innes (1753–1816), federal judge, was a native of Caroline County who moved to Bedford County and became an attorney prior to the Revolutionary War. During that conflict he administered gunpowder mills and lead mines for the Virginia Committee of Safety and served as an escheator, a commissioner settling claims to unpatented lands, and a tax collector. The state legislature appointed Innes a judge of the Kentucky District’s supreme court in 1782 and attorney general over that portion of western Virginia two years later. In the spring of 1785 he moved to what later became the state of Kentucky and lived there for the rest of his life. Although Innes opposed the ratification of the United States Constitution, he accepted President George Washington’s appointment as a federal judge for the Kentucky District in 1789 and remained on the bench until his death. A firm Republican and an early proponent of Kentucky statehood, in the mid-1790s he communicated his strong belief that the Mississippi River had to be opened to navigation to both TJ and the Spanish governor at Natchez. Innes’s secret contacts with the latter, coupled with his friendship with James Wilkinson, led to allegations that he had supported a Spanish plot to seduce Kentucky from the Union. Congress conducted an investigation in 1808, but Innes kept his judgeship. TJ maintained a cordial, albeit sporadic, correspondence with him for more than thirty years. In 1790 Innes sent TJ an old Indian sculpture, and nine years later he forwarded information regarding the 1774 murder of the Mingo Indian Logan’s family that TJ incorporated into later editions of his Notes on the State of Virginia (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends ; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia description ends [1785–86 sess.], 51; Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, and others, eds., The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution [1976– ], 8:221–3, 385–7; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 1:29, 32 [24, 26 Sept. 1789]; Arthur Preston Whitaker, “Harry Innes and the Spanish Intrigue: 1794–1795,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 15 [1928]: 236–48; Notes, ed. Peden description begins Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. William Peden, 1955 description ends , 231–2, 237, 241–2; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–1992, 11 vols. description ends , 1:319–20; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Miscellaneous, 1:922–34; Lexington, Ky., Western Monitor, 27 Sept. 1816; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 9 Oct. 1816).

The British and their Indian allies made two unsuccessful attempts to capture Fort Meigs (ft meigs) (in present-day Perrysburg, Ohio) during the spring and summer of 1813 (Stagg, Madison’s War description begins John C. A. Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783–1830, 1983 description ends , 326). The miami of lake erie is the Maumee River. Isaac Shelby helped to organize and conduct the campaign which ended in an American victory at the Battle of kingsmountain in western North Carolina, 7 Oct. 1780 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ).

1Manuscript: “these.”

2Word interlined.

3Manuscript: “a.”

Index Entries

  • dogs; requested from TJ search
  • dogs; shepherd search
  • Fort Meigs, Ohio search
  • Harrison, William Henry; prospects for military campaign of search
  • Innes, Harry; and shepherd dogs search
  • Innes, Harry; conveys wartime intelligence to TJ search
  • Innes, Harry; identified search
  • Innes, Harry; letters from search
  • Kentucky; sheep raised in search
  • Kentucky; shepherd dogs for search
  • merino sheep; and dogs search
  • Perry, Oliver Hazard; American naval commander search
  • sheep; and dogs search
  • Shelby, Isaac; as commander of Ky. militia search
  • Shelby, Isaac; Revolutionary War service of search
  • Todd, Thomas search