Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to Henry Dearborn, 9 February 1804

To Henry Dearborn

Feb. 9. 1804.

Th:J. to Genl. Dearborne

Considering that we have shortly to ask a favour ourselves from the Creeks, the Tuckabatché road, may we not turn the application of Hawkins to our advantage, by making it the occasion of broaching that subject to them? he might be directed to say to them that we furnish with pleasure the several articles which he has asked for their use: that there is nothing we have more at heart than to assist them in all their endeavors to provide for the maintenance and comfort of their families. that our dispositions to render them neighborly kindnesses are increased by the necessity we shall be under of asking indulgences from them which are rendered necessary by our late acquisition of New Orleans. that it is becoming indispensible for us to have a direct communication from the seat of our government1 with that place, by a road which, instead of passing the mountains through Tennissee & the Chickasaw & Choctaw country, shall keep below the mountains the whole way, passing along the lower side of the Currahee, by Tuckabatchee, Fort Stoddart, & the mouth of Pearl into the island of New Orleans. that we do not mean to ask this favor for nothing, but to give them for it whatever it is worth; besides that they will have the advantages of keeping taverns for furnishing necessaries to travellers, of selling their provisions & recieving a great deal money in that way: and that on this subject we shall have to give him a particular instruction soon for making the proposition to them.

It seems to me that the favour they have asked furnishes a conciliatory opening for our proposition, which going to them abruptly might otherwise be recieved with displeasure. will you be so good as to consider this, and to do finally what you think best?

RC (PHi: Daniel Parker Papers); addressed: “The Secretary at War”; endorsed by Dearborn. PrC (DLC). Recorded in SJL as a letter to the War Department with notation “The Creeks.”

application of hawkins: on the previous day, the War Department received a letter of 1 Jan. from Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. agent to the southern Indian nations. The letter has not been found, but a clerk noted that it enclosed a “schedule of articles necessary” for the Creek agency. In a letter of 11 Feb., Dearborn informed Hawkins that “Orders have been given for having the Articles innumerated in the lists transmitted by you, forwarded as early as possible” and advised him “to embrace the earliest opportunity for sounding” the Creeks on the prospect of allowing a road through their territory. The secretary of war repeated TJ’s expressions of friendship for the nation and the president’s ideas on the payment and the advantages that the Creeks might obtain by such an allowance (DNA: RG 107, RLRMS; Dearborn to Hawkins, 11 Feb. 1804, DNA: RG 75, LSIA).

1Preceding six words interlined.

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