Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Henry Banks, 20 July 1806

Richmond July 20. 1806


This letter is written for the sole purpose of giving Information in which I think the Governmint is interested.

Not only the acts of the last Congress, but public opinion, has interdicted the trade from this County to St. Domingo; There was therefore much reason to hope that no further causes of Complaint would be given by the Americans to the belligerent Nations: But if what I have heard be true, there are many Persons who still pursue the Trade, and in a manner, which can not fail to give other causes of complaint, of this you shall be able to Judge by what follows.

A free black man whom I have long known, and in whose veracity I place great reliance was lately led by Curiosity to go as a Sailor to that Island in an American Vessel. From him I learn, that there were, when he was at the Cape, thirty eight Amirecan Vessels at that place; that many of these Vessels carried Barrils which contained at each end; Tobacco Fish, and other articles such as are usually exported in Barrils, but in the middle, there were concealed small Casks which, as he believed contained powder and lead; and he also believed that a great deal of concealed Trade was carried on by such means.

Having no doubt that this Information may be relied upon, I have thought proper to put the Governmint upon its guard, so that such measures may be pursued for the future, as the public Interests may require.

I have the honor to be your most obed Serv

Henry Banks

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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