From Thomas Jefferson
Monticello Mar. 3. 19.
I promised your gardener some seeds which I put under a separate cover and address to you by mail. I also inclose you a letter from mr. Cabell which will shew you that the “sour grapes” of Wm. & Mary are spreading;1 but certainly not to the “enlightened part of society” as the letter supposes. I have sent him a transcript from our journals that he may see how far we are under engagements to Dr. Cooper.2 I observe Ritchie imputes to you and myself opinions against Jackson’s conduct in the Seminole war.3 I certainly never doubted that the military entrance into Florida, the temporary occupation of their posts, and the execution of Arbuthnot & Ambrister were all justifiable. If I had ever doubted, P. Barber’s speech4 would have brought me to rights. I at first felt regret at the execution; but I have ceased to feel it on mature reflection, and a belief the example will save much blood. Affectionately your’s.
P. S. On my return I fell in with mr. Watson who signed our proceedings.
RC (DLC: Rives Collection, Madison Papers); FC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). For the enclosure, see n. 1.
1. “The very same interests and prejudices which arrayed themselves against the location at Charlottesville, will continue to assail that establishment. They will seize upon every occasion, and avail themselves of every pretext, to keep it down” (Joseph C. Cabell to Jefferson, 22 Feb. 1819, in Cabell, Early History of the University of Virginia, 165–66).
2. Cabell had written Jefferson that he “did not know that any engagements existed” with Thomas Cooper for a professorship at the university, pointing out that Cooper, “either in point of manners, habits, or character” was “defective” and “rather unpopular in the enlightened part of society.” (Cabell to Jefferson, 22 Feb. 1819, ibid., 165) Jefferson responded with a short history of the Central College’s dealings with Cooper, finally noting that “we are bound, not only in consistency and reputation, but in law, if Dr. Cooper accepts our propositions” (Jefferson to Cabell, 1 Mar. 1819, ibid., 169).
3. Jefferson here referred to a paragraph in Thomas Ritchie’s Richmond Enquirer, 25 Feb. 1819, under the heading “The Seminole War.” The paragraph was taken from the Petersburg Intelligencer.
4. Philip P. Barbour’s speech on the Seminole War in the U.S. House of Representatives on 25 Jan. 1819 was printed in the Richmond Enquirer, 23 Feb. 1819 (Annals of Congress description begins Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States.… (42 vols.; Washington, 1834–56). description ends , 15th Cong., 2d sess., 290, 754, 764–80).