Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 17 February 1816

To James Monroe

Monticello Feb. 17. 16.

Th: Jefferson to Colo Monroe.

It is impossible for you to note and preserve every thing as it passes in newspapers. I have therefore cut out of the Virginia Argus of Feb. 14. the inclosed paper. have it filed with the papers on the Louisiana title, and when you have to take up that subject it will suggest to you facts for enquiry. it is from some hand acquainted well with the subject, & contains some facts not in the MS. on which I wrote to you the other day, nor in my memoir & Chronological statement which is in your office, and was I believe furnished to our Commrs at Madrid. fac valeas, meque mutuo diligas.

RC (DNA: RG 59, TP-F); dateline at foot of text; addressed: “James Monroe Secretary of State Washington”; franked; postmarked Milton, 21 Feb.; endorsed in an unidentified hand, with the additional notation: “Covers an Extract from a newspaper containing a chronological statement of the principal facts in relation to the Settlement & boundaries of Louisiana.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ.

The inclosed paper, a letter by “VIATOR” clipped from the 14 Feb. 1816 issue of the Richmond Virginia Argus, dated 7 Feb. from Philadelphia and originally addressed “To the Editor of the Democratic Press,” commented that “As the boundary question relating to Louisiana, is likely to become an interesting object of public attention, I send you a brief statement of the title of the United States to the country from Rio Perdido, in East Florida, to Rio Bravo, west of the Bay of St. Bernard—Perhaps I may by and bye, send you the title now set up by the court of Spain to the country east of the Ibberville, and west of the Mississippi, should the present essay appear to you worth attention”; asserted that the American right to Louisiana derived from the French title; gave the history of the French claims from 1673 to 1803; and concluded that the current disagreement between the United States and Spain grew out of the 1803 treaty between the United States and France in which the latter sold its Louisiana lands to the United States, including those ceded by Spain to France under the Treaty of San Ildefonso.

TJ’s memoir & chronological statement included his “Chronological Series of Facts relative to Louisiana,” [ca. 15 Jan. 1804] (DLC: TJ Papers, 137:23690–1; ViU: TJP; PPAmP), and “An examination into the boundaries of Louisiana,” 7 Sept. 1803, with 15 Jan. 1804 postscript (DLC: TJ Papers, 135:23267–71; ViU: TJP; PPAmP). Monroe and Charles Pinckney negotiated with the Spanish government at madrid in an effort to settle the Louisiana boundary dispute (ASP, Foreign Relations, 2:627–33). fac valeas, meque mutuo diligas: “Goodbye, and cherish me as I do you.”

Index Entries

  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Chronological Series of Facts Relative to Louisiana search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Examination into the Boundaries of Louisiana search
  • Louisiana (Spanish and French colony); “Chronological Series of Facts relative to Louisiana” (Jefferson) search
  • Louisiana (Spanish and French colony); “Examination into the Boundaries of Louisiana” (Jefferson) search
  • Louisiana Territory; and Treaty of San Ildefonso (1800) search
  • Louisiana Territory; boundaries of search
  • Louisiana Territory; TJ on search
  • Monroe, James; as secretary of state search
  • Monroe, James; letters to search
  • newspapers; RichmondVirginia Argus search
  • Pinckney, Charles; negotiates with Spain search
  • San Ildefonso, Treaty of (1800) search
  • Spain; and La. search
  • State Department, U.S.; and La. boundaries search
  • State Department, U.S.; “Chronological Series of Facts relative to Louisiana,” search
  • Virginia Argus (Richmond newspaper); and La. boundary dispute search