Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Joshua Baker, 19 August 1807

Mississippi Territory, Wilkinson County, August 19th, 1807—

On this day a number of the Citizens of said County convened at the house of Micajah Frazier Esqr. for the purpose of taking into consideration the late flagrant outrage commited on the United States Frigate Chesapeake commanded by Commode James Barron, by the British Ship, Leopard, a Vessel of superior force, whereby a number of our Citizens were kill’d and wounded, and four of our Sea-men taken and carried off by force.   After the intention of the meeting was made known, by Majr. Hugh Davis, the following regulations were adopted, viz, Col. Joshua Baker was chosen Chair-man, and William Connell Secretary, after which the following resolutions were entered into.

Resolved unanimously, that Majr. Joseph Johnson, Majr. Hugh Davis, John Coulter, John Nugent, Josias Grey, and William Brown Esquire, be appointed a Committee to prepare, and form resolutions expessive of the intentions of this meeting, to be presented for consideration to the next general meeting of the Citizens of this County.

Resolved unanimously, that the next general meeting be held at the house of Micajah Frazier Esqr. on thursday the 27th Inst. at which time and place the Citizens of this County are requested to attend.

Resolved, that this meeting be adjourned untill the time mentioned in the foregoing resolutions.


Joshua Baker. Chair-Man

Attest W Connell, Secretary

Thursday 27th Inst.

Met agreeable to adjournment of the 19th Inst. when a great and respectable number of the Citizens of the County assembled. The Committee who were appointed to prepare resolutions expressive of the indignation of the Citizens of this County against the outrage committed in dishonour to our flag and national dignity made the following report which was unanimously agreed to.

“Whereas the British government, for a number of years past, pretending friendship, and receiving our Envoys with apparent cordiality for the purpose of settleing all existing differences between the two governments, and of establishing a lasting peace between them in future, have lull’d us into a kind of fatal security; and Whereas this perfidious Nation, while amusing us in this manner, ceased not to insult our flag, and to derogate us as a Nation by commiting outrages on our commerce, which was artfully appologized for by insinuating that they were acts of individuals not sanctioned by their Government &c, and with which american forbearance remain’d satisfied, at least, untill the event of negociation should be known.

But the murder of Pierce, by Whitby, and the promotion of the murderer, as tho’ he had done a laudable act, ought to have opened the eyes of the American people: The perfidy by which they were kept amused, during so long a period, ought to remind them of the Spirit of ’76 when they threw off the yoke of this same perfidious Nation, who still retain their Malignity and are now (though more than thirty years have elapsed since our declaration of Independance) Spilling the Blood of our Citizens.   Their Mask of friendship is at length compleatly thrown off, the Sword of War is unshethed against us, and that at a time when we supposed ourselves on the Eve of a permanent peace: Such conduct is scarcely to be paralel’d in the annals of the most barbarous Nations!

Ye Gentle Manes of our departed Heroes of ’76 who fought and bled to obtain our Independance, Were Ye permited to look down from your blissful seats, and view, as with mortal Eyes, the insults we have received the outrages commited on our National Honour, Our Citizens impress’d by force from on board our vessels, and in endeavouring to protect them Blood and Slaughter being the consequence and all possible insults offered to us as a nation, all by the very nation you once conquer’d, and forced to acknowle the Independance and Sovereignty of the United States, How would you wish to inspire that ardour you yourselves possesst into the present Generation, that they should immediately rouse to arms, and avenge the insults which are so frequently offering by this perfidious Government to our National Honour and Dignity.

1st. Resolved that we deem the late aggression as a Wanton and perfidious Outrage upon the lives of our Citizens and the property of our Government and a direct attack on our national Sovereignty and Independance

2nd. Resolved that the proclamation of the president of the United States, prohibiting supplies being furnished the British vessels of War, meets our entire approbation, and is worthy of the patriotism of its Author.—

3rd, Resolved that while we wish to avoid the horrors of War, as an evil to be dreaded by every Nation, and which we are sensible must be destructive to our Commerce in this Territory; yet if adequate reparation be not made by that imperious Nation, we trust that our government will no longer suffer their wanton outrages to pass with impunity, as we view any insult offered to our government as offered to us individually, and therefore pledge our lives and property to support every measure which our government may deem necessary to support our rights, or avenge our wrongs.—

4th, Resolved that the various resolutions of our fellow Citizens of the different States of the Union, on this Occasion, meet our highest approbation.

5th, Resolved that we conceive the Honourable the Mayor of the City of Norfolk as entitled to the thanks of every american Citizen for his spirited and independant answer to the menacing letter of Commodore Douglass, together with his other patriotic conduct on that important Occasion, and that the Chairman be requested to signify to him the approbation of this meeting.

6th, Resolved that the Chairman be requested to transmit a Copy of these resolutions to the president of the United States, also one to the Governor of this Territory, and that the same be published in the several News-Papers of the Territory.”

7th. Resolved that the thanks of this meeting be returned to the Chairman for the dilligent discharge of his duties.—


Joshua Baker Chair-Man

Attest Connell, Secretary.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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