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Thomas Jefferson’s Memoranda to James Madison, [ca. 4–11 March 1809]

Memoranda to James Madison

[ca. 4–11 Mar. 1809]

Memoranda for the President.

Information having been recieved in October last that many intruders had settled on the lands of the Cherokees & Chickasaws; the letter from Genl Dearborn to Colo Meigs was written to have them ordered off, & to inform them they would be removed by military force in the spring if still on the lands. these orders remain still to be given, & they should go to the officer commanding at Highwassee. a very discreet officer should be selected. on the Cherokee lands, Wafford’s settlement should not be disturbed as the Indians themselves expect to arrange that with us, & the exchange for lands beyond the Misipi will furnish a good opportunity. from the lands of1 the Chickasaws all should be removed except those who settled on Doublehead’s reserve under titles from him; & they should be notified that those lands having been claimed by the Chickasaws as well as the Cherokees, we purchased2 the Cherokee right with an exception of Doublehead’s reserve, which we did not guarantee to him, but left it as it stood under the claims of both nations; that consequently they are not under our protection. that whenever we purchase the Chickasaw right, all their titles under Doublehead will become void; as our laws do not permit individuals to purchase lands from the Indians: that they should therefore look out for themselves in time.

At Detroit. Genl Dearborne & myself had concluded to purchase for the War-departmt farm, near Detroit, now held by the Treasury office in satisfaction of a delinquency, provided it could be bought at it’s real value, supposed about 1000. or 1200. D. to employ the dwelling house and appurtenances for a school for the instruction of the Indian boys & girls in reading Etc learning English & houshold & mechanical arts under the care of Pere Richard, to place in the farm house a farmer (a labourer) of proper character to cultivate the farm with the aid of the Indian lads for the support of the institution, and to place on the same land the blacksmith & carpenter, who would have Indian apprentices under them. the advantages of assembling the whole at one place are obvious. father Richard goes to France in the Mentor to procure an aid. if, when he brings him, he could exchange him with Bishop Carroll for an American, it would be infinitely more desirable.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 187:33233); in TJ’s hand; undated; at foot of first page: “Presidt US.”; docketed “Mach 1809” at foot of text in an unknown hand. Tr (MHi); second paragraph only; posthumous copy.

James Madison (1751–1836), president of the United States, 1809–17, was TJ’s lifelong friend and confidante. They became acquainted in 1779 when TJ was governor of Virginia and Madison sat on the Virginia Council of State. Madison served as a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, 1780–83 and 1787–88, played a key role in drafting the United States Constitution in 1787, enjoyed great prominence in the United States House of Representatives, 1789–97, and served as secretary of state under TJ throughout the latter’s presidency. In addition to their republican ideals and belief in religious toleration, the two men shared interests in science, agriculture, natural history, and the promotion of education. Throughout their long political careers they corresponded frequently and supported each other with mutual respect and admiration (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Brant, Madison description begins Irving Brant, James Madison, 1941–61, 6 vols. description ends , esp. 1:272–80; Madison, Papers description begins William T. Hutchinson, Robert A. Rutland, John C. A. Stagg, and others, eds., The Papers of James Madison, 1962– , 31 vols.: Congress. Ser., 17 vols.; Pres. Ser., 5 vols.; Sec. of State Ser., 6 vols description ends ).

wafford’s settlement was a 135-square-mile tract in Georgia ceded to the United States by the Cherokee in a 24 Oct. 1804 treaty, the first of four such transactions during TJ’s administration by which the federal government gained title to over 15,000 square miles of Cherokee land (Russell Thornton, The Cherokees: A Population History [1990], 55).

1Word interlined in place of “claimed by.”

2TJ here canceled “only.”

Index Entries

  • Carroll, John (archbishop of Baltimore) search
  • Cherokee Indians; lands of search
  • Chickasaw Indians; lands of search
  • Dearborn, Henry; as secretary of war search
  • Detroit, Mich. Territory; Indian school at search
  • Doublehead; Cherokee leader search
  • Doublehead’s Reserve, Tenn. search
  • education; of Indian children search
  • Indians; Cherokee search
  • Indians; Chickasaw search
  • Indians; education of children search
  • Indians; training school for search
  • Indians; treaties with search
  • Madison, James; identified search
  • Madison, James; memoranda to search
  • Meigs, Return Jonathan (1740–1823) search
  • Mentor (ship); carries dispatches search
  • Michigan Territory; Indian training school in search
  • Richard, Gabriel; and Indian training school search
  • schools and colleges; Spring Hill School (Mich. Terr.) search
  • Spring Hill School (Indian training school, Mich. Terr.) search
  • Tennessee; Doublehead’s Reserve search
  • Wafford’s Settlement (Tellico Garrison); treaty of search