Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Wilson Cary Nicholas, 25 May 1809

To Wilson Cary Nicholas

Monticello May 25. 09.

Dear Sir

I am sorry to hear of your attack of rheumatism both on your own account & that of the public, as1 I think you will have to go on as soon as you are able. I believe that immediately on the pacification with England, a vessel was dispatched to France for the Ultimatum of that government as I presume. Turreau was earnest in giving assurances that Napoleon would revoke his decrees, considering Great Britain as having retraced her steps. but as a contrary answer is possible, I suppose Congress will await the return of the vessel. if she brings a determination to continue taking our vessels on the high seas, the question of War on our part cannot but be brought on, because on his part it is all the war he can wage, and we may as well recieve the offers of2 the Floridas & Cuba, which will probably be made to us by their inhabitants. should the republican party think we might as well make war on our part also, they will for once probably have the concurrence of the federalists. this question is too important to admit of your absence, & the importance of giving good support to the new admn is an additional reason for your going. as to the merit of the result of our measures against England, mr Madison is justly entitled to his full share of it, as he is of all the measures of my administration. our principles were the same, & we never differed sensibly in the application of them. I am glad therefore that my enemies, & hope that my friends will do him justice as to this & all our other measures. we shall be happy to see you here on your passage, being affectionately & respectfully yours

Th: Jefferson

RC (ViU: TJP, photostat); at foot of text: “Mr Nicholas”; endorsed by Nicholas. PoC (DLC). Tr (ViW: TC-JP); fragment ending in second sentence.

1Reworked from “&.”

2Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Congress, U.S.; mentioned search
  • Cuba; possible acquisition by U.S. search
  • Florida; acquisition of by U.S. search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; intentions unclear search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); foreign policy views search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); letters to search
  • Turreau de Garambouville, Louis Marie; sends ship to France search