Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 27 January 1814

To James Monroe

Monticello Jan. 27. 14.

Dear Sir

I now return you the letter of mr Carter which was inclosed in yours of Nov. 3. and which was 6. weeks on it’s passage to me. the reference to myself which you are both so kind as to propose I must beg leave to decline. I could not trust myself with such a decision. for altho’ I should certainly endeavor to see nothing but the facts of the case, yet even as to these, my having been the sole agent, thro the whole of this business, for one of the parties only, and the particular interest which it was thus my duty to feel and to espouse, may but too possibly have left impressions, unpercieved by myself, which might prevent my seeing the subject in the original and unbiased view with which an umpire ought to enter into it. I have therefore requested mr Carter to attend at any time convenient to you and himself, between this and the 1st of April until which time I shall be constantly at home. a letter from him however of Dec. 2. informs me that you have agreed between you that if your claim proves correct, he is to pay you what he got for the land with interest. this amounts to an agreement that the line shall stand as marked for mr Short, and that whatever it shall take from you shall be paid for by him to you. this is certainly perfectly just, and it leaves mr Short and mr Higginbotham without further interest in the question, and the meeting & proceedings before proposed are in that case1 become unnecessary. the question in this case remains between yourself and mr Carter only, to be settled at your leisure. if you will be so good as to signify this in a line to me, I shall be able to satisfy mr Short, and to remove mr Higgenbotham’s scruples about the paiment of his bonds, the first of which is now at hand.

I inclose you a letter from mr John Clarke suggesting a mode of keeping the army filled up. whether it be the best or not, I am not to decide. but as it appears to be one of the good ones, I inclose it to you to be suggested where it may serve.

What effect will the disasters of Bonaparte have on the negociation of Gottenburg? not a good one I am afraid. the Salvo of maritime rights by the other party, leaves room to claim whatever the successes of her allies may embolden, or her own greediness stimulate her to grasp at. these successes will enable her to make the ensuing a warm campaign for us. Orleans, Pensacola, and the Chesapeak, one or the other, or all, are indicated by the number and construction of the boats they are preparing. their late proceedings too in the North seem to breathe the spirit of a bellum ad internecionem. it would be well if on some proper occasion the government should either justify or disavow Mclure’s proceedings at Newark. as it is possible our negotiators may not obtain what we would wish on the subject of maritime rights, would it not be well that they should stipulate for the benefit of those which shall be established by the other belligerents at the settlement of a general peace. remember me affectionately to the President. it is long since I have had occasion of writing to him, and I consider it a duty to suppress all idle calls on his attention. ever affectionately yours.

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: Monroe Papers); at foot of first page: “Colo Monroe.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: John Clarke to TJ, 2 Dec. 1813. Other enclosure not found.

William Champe Carter’s letter to TJ was dated 22 Dec. 1813, not dec. 2. In response to New York militia general George McClure’s destruction of Niagara, Upper Canada, on 10–11 Dec. 1813, the British inaugurated a bellum ad internecionem (“war of extermination”) along the northern frontier that set the stage for the burning the following summer of Washington, D.C. During the last half of December 1813 British forces destroyed the American towns of Black Rock, Buffalo, Lewiston, and Manchester. Although McClure claimed that his actions had been authorized by Secretary of War John Armstrong, the United States government quickly disavowed his proceedings at newark (Niagara) (Malcomson, Historical Dictionary description begins Robert Malcomson, Historical Dictionary of the War of 1812, 2006 description ends , 323–4, 374–6; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Military Affairs, 1:84, 486, 487; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:752).

1Preceding three words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Armstrong, John; as secretary of war search
  • Army, U.S.; enlistment for search
  • Carter, William Champe; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Chesapeake Bay; defense of search
  • Clarke, John (1766–1844); plan for increasing enlistment of regular troops search
  • Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden; and peace negotiations search
  • Great Britain; TJ on war with search
  • Higginbotham, David; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Higginbotham, David; and W. Short’s land search
  • Highland (J. Monroe’s Albemarle Co. estate); boundary dispute search
  • Indian Camp (W. Short’s Albemarle Co. estate); boundary dispute search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Business & Financial Affairs; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; peace with Great Britain search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; war with Great Britain search
  • Madison, James; greetings sent to search
  • McClure, George; Niagara campaign of search
  • militia; and increasing regular army enlistments search
  • Monroe, James; and Highland–Indian Camp boundary dispute search
  • Monroe, James; letters to search
  • Napoleon I, emperor of France; 1813campaign of search
  • New Orleans; port of search
  • Short, William; and Indian Camp search
  • United States; maritime rights search
  • War of1812; and peace negotiations search
  • War of1812; British destruction in Washington search
  • War of1812; Niagara Campaign search
  • War of1812; TJ on search
  • Washington (D.C.); British destruction in search