Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Henry Dearborn’s Statement Regarding Elias Earle’s Ironworks, 29 March 1812


Henry Dearborn’s Statement Regarding Elias Earle’s Ironworks

In the early part of the Year 1807 Col Elias Earle of South Carolina proposed to the Secretary of war the establishing of Iron works, with suitable Shops1 in the Cherokee Nation—on the following conditions viz) that [a]2 suitable place should be looked out & selected, where sufficent quantities of Good ore Could be found in the Vicinity of Good3 streams of water for such establishment, & that the Indians should be induced to make a cession of a tract of land Say Six miles square that should embrace the ore & the water priviledge—and that he should have so much of the land so ceeded, conveyed to him, as the President of the United States might deem proper, including the ore & water priviledge—on which he should be authorised to Errect Iron works, smiths shops &c—and on his part he would engage to erect such Iron works & shop as to enable him to furnish such quantities of Iron and implements of4 Husbandry, as should be Sufficent for the use of the Various Indian tribes in that part of the Country, including those on the western side of the Ohio and Mississippi—and to deliver anually to the order of goverment of the United States Such quantities of Iron & impliments as should be required for the Indians—and on such reasonable tirms as should be mutually agreed on—and as Great delays & Disapointments had Very frequently occurred in procuring those articles for the Indians in that quarter of the country, the Secretary of war refered the propositions to the President of the united States—and it was determined that Colo Meigs, the agent for the cherokees, Should be directed to endeavour to procure from the cherokees a cession of such a Tract as was proposed, as soon as Colo Earle Should have Explored the country and Selected a5 suitable place for the proposed Establishment Colo Earle accordingly explored the Country & selected a suitable [place]6 for the proposed Establishment at the mouth of chickamaga creek,7 where a sufficent quantity of Good ore & a8 water priviledge combined—Colo Meigs was accordingly9 directed to endeavour to obtain from the Indians a cession of10 six miles Square, that should imbrace the ore & water priviledge—he accordingly held a treaty with the chiefs of the Cherokees11—and obtained the Cession & paid the Indians near three thousand dollars of the stipulated Concideration—Colo Earle attended the treaty & came on to Washington City with the result, at the next meeting of Congress—the president proposed the ratification to the Senate, but before It was acted upon, it was found by running12 the Southerly line of the State of tennessee that the tract So ceeded13 fell within that State—& the ratification was suspended with a hope on the part of the President, that the State of Tennessee would concent to give up its claim to the land—but he was disapointed and [no]14 further measures were taken, on the part of the goverment—Colo Earle returned home after bringing on the Treaty with a [full]15 Expectation that the treaty would be ratified and16 Sent off Some hands & provisions for the purpose of erecting Some houses17 for the workmen &c. his waggons & hands were Stoped on the way by a party of disafected cherokees and turned back—Colo Earle now claims18 compensation for his time & Expenses in Exploring the country & selecting the place for the proposed Establishment, and for bringing on the treaty—or it would be more agreable19 to him if the Goverment would make an adjustment20 with the cherokees for an Exchange of the ceeded tract for one that should21 be without the boundries of the State of Tennessee—but which Should embrace Similar advantages for such an Establishment as was proposed22—and to allow him to further23 the establishment on24 the same conditions as were Contemplated on the other tract—and Colo Earle thinks that such an Exchange would readily be25 consented to by the Cherokees—and that a tract may be found within there Country, that will possess all the nessasary qualities for such an Establishment—and as the Indians have actually reced a great26 part of the Stipulated Conciderations—they ought the more readily to agree to such an Exchange

Signed—H, Dearborn

Tr (DLC: TJ Papers, 195:34754–5); entirely in Earle’s hand; at head of text and beneath signature: “Copy.” Tr (DLC: Madison Papers); entirely in Earle’s hand.

On 6 Apr. 1812 Earle had sent President James Madison copies of both Dearborn’s statement and a covering note from Dearborn giving the secretary of war’s opinion that Earle should either be compensated financially or allowed to select another tract in the Cherokee territory for his proposed ironworks (Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 32 vols.  Congress. Ser., 17 vols.  Pres. Ser., 6 vols. Retirement Ser., 1 vol.  Sec. of State Ser., 8 vols. description ends , Pres. Ser., 4:303–4).

1Madison Papers Tr: “with Smiths Shops.”

2Omitted word supplied from Madison Papers Tr.

3TJ Papers Tr: “of a Good.” Madison Papers Tr: “of Good.”

4TJ Papers Tr: “of of.” Madison Papers Tr: “of.”

5TJ Papers Tr: “as.” Madison Papers Tr: “a.”

6Omitted word editorially supplied.

7In Madison Papers Tr, phrase from ampersand to this point reads “& found a place on chicamaga.”

8Madison Papers Tr here adds “Suitable.”

9Madison Papers Tr substitutes “then” for this word.

10Madison Papers Tr here adds “a Track.”

11Madison Papers Tr: “chiefs of the Cherokee nation.”

12Madison Papers Tr: “reviewing.”

13Preceding five words not in Madison Papers Tr.

14Omitted word supplied from Madison Papers Tr.

15Omitted word supplied from Madison Papers Tr.

16Madison Papers Tr here adds “precipitatily.”

17Madison Papers Tr substitutes “Commencing the Erection of some huts” for preceding three words.

18Madison Papers Tr here adds “some.”

19TJ Papers Tr: “ageable.” Madison Papers Tr: “agreable.”

20Madison Papers Tr: “agreement.”

21Madison Papers Tr: “shall.”

22TJ Papers Tr: “proposed proposed.” Madison Papers Tr: “proposed.”

23Madison Papers Tr: “form.”

24TJ Papers Tr: “on on.” Madison Papers Tr: “on.”

25TJ Papers Tr: “readily be readily be.” Madison Papers Tr: “be readily.”

26Madison Papers Tr: “received the greater.”

Index Entries

  • Cherokee Indians; ironworks for search
  • Dearborn, Henry; Statement Regarding Elias Earle’s Ironworks search
  • Earle, Elias; and Cherokee Indians search
  • Earle, Elias; ironworks of search
  • Indians; Cherokee search
  • iron; manufacture of search
  • Madison, James; and E. Earle’s claim for compensation search
  • manufacturing, household; ironworks search
  • Meigs, Return Jonathan (1740–1823); as Cherokee Indian agent search
  • Senate, U.S.; and Cherokee Indians search