Monticello Apr. 25. 24.
I duly recieved your letter of the 19 with the documents it covered relative to the treaty of Oct. 24. 1804. with the Cherokees . recurring to memory alone I can affirm that the treaty inclosed no case of intruders ever occurred which excited more anxiety with us than that of Wafford’s settlement . on the complaint of the Cherokees we endeavored to purchase the lands from them but on their refusal we assured them the intruders should be removed and orders were accdly given. but the officers to whom they were given interceded with the Indians to let the settlers remain until they had gathered their crops and this indulgence was I believe repeated until at length they agreed to sell the lands. recurring to my papers I find the following passage in a letter to Genl Dearborne of Apr. 8. 1804. written from this place where I was on a short visit at the time. ‘I think, before I left Washington we had decided to take immediate measures for endeavoring to purchase of the Cherokees all their lands in Tennisee, or such, the most interesting to that state, as they would be willing to sell, and to name Meigs and Daniel Smith Commissioners.’ to this Genl Dearborne answered by the letter of Apr. 14. which I now inclose you. informing me that Smith and Meigs had accdly been authorised to hold the treaty this is the last trace of the transaction which I find in my papers. I have for 40. years back kept a list of every letter or communication I wrote or recieved, diligent examn of this that I never recieved this treaty. I have preserved press or poligraph copies of every message I ever sent to either house of Congress. a like examn of these proves I never laid this treaty before the Senete. yet that the treaty was entered into is proved by the duplicate copy produced by the Indians, equally authentic with our own, by it’s actual execution by the delivery of the lands on their part and of the price in goods / on ours and by the testimony of mr Mckee and others. how has it happened that this has been done without ratificn the Senate? I do not know. two conjectures occur. either the treaty lost by the way, or if recd by the War office it been mislaid there accidentally, and escaped subsequent recollection . the exn of the treaty having taken place immediately and on the spot where it was signed, nothing occurred here call our attention to it , and in the mass of other business overlooked this, and a of duty has incurred a lapse of memory. I take to myself my share in this omission, and can only say in excuse ‘homo sum.’ the treaty had all my approbation. that the blot may yet be covered, if all parties are agreed. the Indians will doubtless consent that their duplicate shall be laid before the Senate being equally an original with that which should have been laid before their predecessors, can recieve their ratification nunc pro tunc, will sanction all has been done, on the principle that the confirmation of supplies preceding defects. in this way may be repaired a slip of the executive functionaries unwittingly committed and full justice be done to the other party.
with my regrets that an failure of recollection in myself, among the other officers of the govmt participating in it should have produced the present embarrasment, accept the assurance of my high respect & consideration.