Thomas Jefferson Papers
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From Thomas Jefferson to John Page, 25 November 1803

To John Page

Washington Nov. 25. 1803.

My dear friend

Supposing that your curiosity would make an Account of Louisiana acceptable, I inclose to you one of those which contains a digest of the most interesting information we have been able to collect in so short a time. the information we recieve weekly from N. Orleans confirms our belief that quiet possession will be delivered to us; that there has never there been a thought of opposition, & that all the letters & extracts we have seen in the papers from Cadiz & New Orleans were fabricated here & at Philadelphia to excite war if possible, & alarm at any rate. I expect that our troops are arriving about this day at New Orleans to recieve the possession, and that we shall hear of it’s delivery in three weeks from this time. this transaction being once peaceably closed this great work will be crowned, and tho’ we shall be only the 2d of the civilized nations in [mere]1 extent of territory, we shall be the first in that which is cultivable.

The Syllabus I put into your hands was borrowed of my daughter. it has no value but that which she sets upon it, and which alone induces me to recall it to your memory. it will come to me by post with perfect safety. present my friendly respects to mrs Page, & accept yourself my affectionate salutations, and assurances of constant esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); blurred; at foot of text: “Governor Page.” Enclosure: An Account of Louisiana, Being an Abstract of Documents, in the Offices of the Departments of State, and of the Treasury (see Vol. 41:721).

Appearing first in the Philadelphia Gazette and reprinted widely, a letter from a correspondent in cadiz reported that Spain, upset by the “conduct of Bonaparte” in selling Louisiana to the United States, was preparing for war with France. The correspondent also speculated that the “small fleet arming here” was destined for Havana, with the ultimate goal of blockading the Mississippi in the event of ratification of the purchase treaty. A separate letter from new orleans reported the arrival of a Spanish schooner from Havana “with orders to the Governor not to give up the possession of Louisiana, to either France or the United States: but to wait for farther instructions from the Court of Spain” (New York Commercial Advertiser, 24 Oct.; New York Evening Post, 24 Oct.; Alexandria Daily Advertiser, 25 Oct.; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 25 Oct.; New-York Herald, 26 Oct.; Philadelphia Aurora, 28 Oct.).

Page enclosed TJ’s syllabus on the philosophy of Jesus in his letter of 16 Nov.

1Word interlined.

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