Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Littleton W. Tazewell, 22 November 1810

To Littleton W. Tazewell

Monticello Nov. 22. 10.

Dear Sir

I have still to acknolege the reciept of your letter of Sep. 27. the preceding one covering the bonds had been previously recieved. your mention of what you recollected from Herodotus put me on examining that author more particularly than I had before done, and this led again to the investigation of the case of the Nile through1 all the authors I possessed on the subject. the result has been a fuller statement of the circumstances respecting it than I had before given, and with a correctness which I am persuaded cannot be opposed in any material point. further reflection and investigation have also led me to consider some other points, which I had passed over, or slightly treated, under the pressure of the multiplied questions which this case presented. for the most important one however, I am indebted to the Memoire of M. Moreau de Lislet, which had been mislaid by mr Rodney and lately found and sent to me. he has treated the branch of the subject depending on the French law of Alluvions & the edict of Louis XIV with great learning & ability. this was the more opportune, as these were exactly the points on which your letter expressed doubts. I have given the substance of his argument on those two points. he has treated other questions of the case with sound reasoning also; but wasting himself too much in answering the trifles of Livingston & Dupont, not worthy of answer. this swells his Memoir to 136. pages folio. but, like Thierry, he gives up nearly as much as he gains for us. I have been obliged to combat a concession of his. I incorporated my additions & amendments into the MS. statement which I communicated to you, and have deposited it with mr Hay & mr Wirt, subject to your call. but that you may see the new additions without the trouble of reading the whole over again, I inclose them to you separately written, and ask the favor of you to return the paper after reading it, as I prepared it for communication to the President and other members of the cabinet who participated in the transaction; making a point of apprising them of all the ground I take. I inclose you a copy of the declaration. I have suggested to Messrs Wirt & Hay the pleading 1. the general issue on which the title to the batture may be supported on behalf of the city of N. Orleans, which I have undertaken to the Governor to support. 2. the special plea that I did it officially as the servant of the public, and without malice, and to reserve the objection to the locality of the action for a motion in arrest of judgment, as suggested in your letter; leaving the whole however to their and your decision. Accept the assurances of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (NjMoHP: Lloyd W. Smith Collection); torn at seal, with gaps supplied from PoC; at foot of first page: “Mr Tazewell”; endorsed by Tazewell. PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Enclosure: Amendments and Notes to TJ’s Statement on the Batture Case (MS in DLC: TJ Papers, 191:34108–16; entirely in TJ’s hand; these revisions to TJ’s 31 July 1810 statement will be dealt with in an upcoming volume of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Second Series on the controversy over the Batture Sainte Marie).

1Manuscript: “throug.”

Index Entries

  • Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case (Thomas Jefferson) search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; communications between TJ and his counsel concerning search
  • Batture Sainte Marie, controversy over; pleadings in search
  • Egypt; and batture controversy search
  • Examen des Droits des Etats-Unis et des pretensions de Mr. Edouard Livingston sur la Batture en Face du Faubourg Ste. Marie (Thierry) search
  • France; laws of search
  • Hay, George; and batture controversy search
  • Hay, George; and TJ’s statement on the batture case search
  • Herodotus; cited in batture case search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Amendments and Notes to Statement on the Batture Case search
  • law; French search
  • Livingston, Edward; bill of complaint against TJ search
  • Louis XIV, king of France; and edict of1693 search
  • Madison, James; and TJ’s statement on the batture case search
  • Moreau Lislet, Louis; “Mémoire au soutien des droits des Etats-unis à la Batture du faubourg Ste Marie,” search
  • Nile River; and batture case search
  • Rodney, Caesar Augustus; and L. Moreau Lislet’s Mémoire search
  • Tazewell, Littleton Waller; and TJ’s statement on the batture case search
  • Tazewell, Littleton Waller; letters to search
  • Thierry, Jean Baptiste Simon; Examen des Droits des Etats-Unis et des pretensions de Mr. Edouard Livingston sur la Batture en Face du Faubourg Ste. Marie search
  • Wirt, William; and TJ’s statement on the batture case search
  • Wirt, William; consults with TJ on batture case search
  • “Mémoire au soutien des droits des Etats-unis à la Batture du faubourg Ste Marie” (Moreau Lislet); TJ on search