Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert W. Osborn, 29 May 1806

Arkansas 29th. May 1806.


I had no idea when I took the liberty of addressing you on the 7th instant, that I should be compelled to trouble you a second time. But by two late arrivals at this place, one from New Orleans, and another from St Louis, I have received letters from Lieutenant Buck, Mr. William Linnard & General Wilkinson which in my opinion tend very much to shew the extraordinary proceedings of some Gentlemen who seem determined to place my character in such point of view as cannot fail to be injurious to it. I am ordered to be put under stoppages of pay, by the pay master general, no doubt with the Knowledge of the accountant of the war department, on the 10 day of September 1805, to pay up a balance regularly accounted for by me to the Military Agents at Philadelphia, before I left that place, as will appear by my letters to him copies of which I presume are by this time in your possession, and yet as late as the 7 of March 1806. Mr Linnard writes to me at the instance of the accountant demanding a payment of that balance and accompanies his demand with threats. I believe Sir, that the first glance at the correspondence which passed between Mr Linnard and myself on that subject as far back as the 15 December 1804 will shew that it never was my intention to procrastinate a settlement with the public, and in order that this might appear the more fully, I have taken the liberty of enclosing to you, the pay rolls of the Garrison for six months, made to accommodate two different payments as is usual in the army. By the rolls for April, May and June, in which I am included from the first of December 1804, it will at once appear that I did not even wait for the interferance of the accountant, but that on the contrary, I of my own accord directed seven months pay to be retained and carried to the credit of my account in the books of Mr Simmons, and although that sum was more than sufficient to pay up the balance due to Mr Linnard, I again made deductions in the rolls for October, November and December 1805. It may not be improper for me to add that it was impossible for me to make these deductions sooner any time, being taken up from the middle of November 1804 to the 27 of May in travelling on public service either in public stage coaches or on the Oceans and rivers, and that the rolls for April, May and June were the first made by myself after my transfer from Capt. Saunders’s company at Norfolk to Captain Carmichals in Louisiana. I also take the liberty of enclosing you C. Swans letter to Lt R Buck and Mr Linnards to me as also one from Lt Hughes, in order that a referrence might be had to the dates and contents of the two former, and that you might see from the latter that my repeated applications to the General for redress of Grievancies are only treated with a polite kind of irony. My character Sir, is as dear to me as the generals ought to be to him and unless he is compelled to administer justice impartially, I may suffer in your opinion and in the opinion of the public, unless the papers which I had the honor of transmitting to you are sufficient in themselves to acquit me of censure.

I beg to assure you that I feel much concern at having been obliged to break in upon your time, which I know must be employed in concerns of more weight than in listening to complaints, but the causes which have led me to them, I hope will be considered sufficient to plead my excuse.

I have the honor to be with very great respect Sir, Your most obedient Servt

R. W. Osborn

Lt Arty.

PHi: Daniel Parker Papers.

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