Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, 31 August 1811

To George Hay

Monticello Aug. 31. 11.

Dear Sir

Mr Bolling Robertson proposing to return shortly to N. Orleans to resume the practice of the law there, I have thought it best to engage him to conduct the examination of witnesses there when we get to that stage of Livingston’s suit. and in order that he might understand the points which are likely to be made in the cause, I have communicated to him my view of it. a great proportion of the facts on which it rests, are such as both parties will probably readily admit, differing only as to the law arising on those facts. would it not be better for him to propose to Livingston to agree these facts in writing, in order to curtail the trouble as well as the volume of evidence? the most material facts on which we shall differ are those respecting the injury already done and likely to ensue from Livingston’s works. the approbation by the Spanish govmt of Gravier’s fauxbourg, that the batture was not included in the Inventory of sale, the perseverance of the former government in keeping it clear of intruders Etc Etc on which testimony will be to be taken. for this purpose would it be best for us to communicate to E.L. our statement of facts & let him strike out from it those he does not admit, or require a statement from him also, have it collated with ours by mr Robertson & himself, and those facts selected in which both agree? the latter is probably best but I leave this to you gentlemen of the law. mr Robertson will suggest to you proper names to insert for Commissioners, to wit, Benjamin Morgan, Moreau de Lislet, Derbigny Etc he can also give you interesting information as to the facility with which our adversary may obtain there proof of any thing he pleases. Accept the assurances of my great esteem & respect

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of text: “Mr Hay”; endorsed by TJ.

TJ must have communicated his view of Edward Livingston’s suit on the batture to Thomas B. Robertson during the latter’s visit to Monticello (TJ to Robertson, 20 Apr. 1812). By inventory of sale TJ probably meant the 1797 inventory of Bertrand Gravier’s estate, not Jean Gravier’s 1804 sale of the batture to Peter Delabigarre. TJ’s statement of facts is printed above at 23 Mar. 1811.

Index Entries

  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; communications between TJ and his counsel concerning search
  • Delabigarre, Peter; and batture controversy search
  • Derbigny, Pierre (Peter) Augustin Bourguignon; and batture controversy search
  • Gravier, Bertrand; and batture controversy search
  • Gravier, Jean (John); and batture controversy search
  • Hay, George; and TJ’s Statement of Facts in the Batture Case search
  • Hay, George; letters to search
  • Livingston, Edward; and TJ’s Statement of Facts in the Batture Case search
  • Moreau Lislet, Louis; on batture controversy search
  • Morgan, Benjamin; and batture controversy search
  • Robertson, Thomas Bolling; and batture controversy search