April 16th. 1807 Henderson County (Ken)
I this day arrived at Genl. Hopkins’s and found himself and family well, and possessing the same patriotic sentiments as when I left him on my way to Washington—At Breckinridge court house I was informed of a number of inquiries that some of the party (dispached to overtake & wrest from me my papers) had been making relative to my business at Washington— I shall take proper measures to bring these sub-traitors if not to condign punishment, at least to a full exposure at the tribunal of my country— I also learned from a gentleman of high respectability, directly from St. Louis that Colo. John Smith (T) will not suffer himself to be taken by the civil authority; but has threatened and reviled me with the harshest and most bitter epithets.
From this man’s character as a desperado & from the servility of a vile and desperate junto of which he is the head, I really think I am in no small danger of assassination, or some other means of taking me off— If they would face me fairly and openly, I would boldly confront them, and set them at defiance; but this is not their method of attack.
I advised with several gentlemen on the subject of my personal safety before I arrived here, whom I knew were friends to the government, and who referred me to Gen Hopkins— He advises me to travel by way of Vincennes; there being but few houses between thence and St Louis and the country chiefly prairé— That it is the safest I have not a doubt & have consequently adopted it—
I delivered the commission with which I was charged to Genl. Clark at Fincastle in Virginia— He could not travel as fast as I did and therefore advised me to proceed as quick as possible— Whatever may be the fate I shall meet with, I have the [. . . .] consolation to know that I have been [. . . .] and true to my country— And whatever may be the temptation I trust I shall perish sooner than prove otherwise—
With the most grateful acknowledgements for the honour done me in your kindness— I have the pleasure to subscribe myself Yr. mo ob. Huml. Sert.
DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.