Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Richard Claiborne, 29 April 1819

New Orleans Apl 29th ’18.

Very dear Sir

Within 2 or 3 days of each other, I received you friendly favor of the 10th of May last, and one from the Marquis De Lafayette. Such a working of feelings as took place within my breast, at the occurrence, you may very will imagine. Reflecting too that we were among the few remaining characters of old revolutionary times, I was filled with a serious degree of melancholy. But Providence disposes of things for the best. Were we to live to uncommon ages, we might Meet with public mortifications we little expected. I will say however that I shall die with one consolation, and that is, that I did live to see the 4th of March 1801!!

The enclosed paper will be continued to you until my Essay on Steam Navigation shall be finished; and when I get my Plates executed, and my Pamphlet published, a copy shall be sent to you. I am now going through a course trials with my boat, which have turned out to my own satisfaction—and if I succeed in my mathematical experiments, the Invention will likely be carried up to Steam Power. “old brooms are thrown aside, and new brooms sweep clean. So it will be with the Wheel and the Duckfoot Paddle.

The Steam boats which now run in the Misisipi and its Waters, are as follows:

Vesuvius 390 Tons
Ætna 360
Orleans 324
Washington 403
Harriet 54
Buffaloe 249
Kentucky 112
Consitution 112
Govr Shelby 106
Geo. Madison 128
Vesta 203
Genl Jackson 142
Cincinnati 157
Ohio 364
Louisiana 102
Napoleon 315
Franklin 131
James Monroe 

Besides these, many are under way in the Ohio—one built at Mobile—one preparing for Bayou Sara—and two building in New Orleans, one of 700 Tons, and the other of 500 Tons. Nay, they are springing up like Mushrooms, every where.

Would the opposers of the purchase of Louisiana, now agree to take back the purchase money, and give up the Country?—!—!

The City of New Orleans is very healthy.

“Eternal sunshine rest upon thy head.”

R Claiborne

Trouble not yourself to write to me. Only suffer me [. . .] make my communications to you.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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