Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Thomas Jefferson to Valentín de Foronda, 14 December 1813

To Valentín de Foronda

Monticello Dec. 14. 13.

Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of recieving several letters from you, covering printed propositions and pamphlets on the state of your affairs, and all breathing the genuine sentiments of order, liberty & philanthropy with which I know you to be sincerely inspired. we learn little to be depended on here as to your civil proceedings, or of the division of sentiments among you: but in this absence of information I have made whatever you propose the polar star of my wishes. what is to be the issue of your present struggles we, here, cannot judge. but we sincerely wish it may be what is best for the happiness and reinvigoration of your country. that it’s divorce from it’s American colonies, which is now unavoidable, will be a great blessing, it is impossible not to pronounce on a review of what Spain was when she acquired them, and of her gradual descent from that proud eminence to the condition in which her present war found her. nature has formed that peninsul to be the second, and why not the first nation in Europe? give equal habits of energy to the bodies, and of science to the minds of her citizens, and where could her superior be found? the most advantageous relation in which she can stand with her American colonies is that of independant friendship, secured by the ties of consanguinity, sameness of language, religion, manners, and habits, and certain, from the influence of these, of a preference in her commerce. if, instead of the eternal irritations, thwartings, machinations against their new governments, the insults and aggressions which Gr. Britain has so unwisely practised towards us, to force us to hate her against our natural inclinations, Spain yields, like a genuine parent, to the forisfamiliation of her colonies now at maturity, if she extends to them her affections, her aid, her patronage in every court & country, it will weave a bond of union indissoluble by time. We are in a state of semi-warfare with your adjoining colonies the Floridas. we do not consider this as affecting our peace with Spain or any other of her former possessions. we wish her and them well; and under her present difficulties at home, and her doubtful future relations with her colonies, both wisdom & interest will I presume induce her to leave them to settle themselves the quarrel they draw on themselves from their neighbors. the commanding officers in the Floridas have excited & armed the neighboring savages to war against us, and to murder & scalp many of our women and children as well as men, taken by surprise, poor creatures! they have paid for it with the loss of the flower of their strength, and have given us the right as we possess the power to exterminate, or to expatriate them beyond the Missisipi. this conduct of the Spanish officers will probably oblige us to take possession of the Floridas, and the rather as we believe the English will otherwise sieze them, and use them as stations to distract and annoy us. but should we possess ourselves of them, & Spain retain her other colonies in this hemisphere, I presume we shall consider them in our hands as subjects of negociation.

We are now at the close of our 2d campaign with England. during the first we suffered several checks from the want of capable and tried officers; all the higher ones of the revolution having died off during an interval of 30 years of peace. but this 2d campaign has been more succesful, having given us all the lakes & country of Upper Canada, except the single post of Kingston, at it’s lower extremity. the two immediate causes of the war were the Orders of Council and impressment of our seamen. the 1st having been removed after we had declared war, the war is continued for the 2d and a 3d has been generated by their conduct during the war, in exciting the Indian hordes to murder & scalp the women & children on our frontier. this renders peace for ever impossible but on the establishment of such a meridian boundary to their possessions as that they never more can have such influence with the savages as to excite again the same barbarities. the thousand ships too they took from us in peace and the six thousand seamen impressed call for this indemnification. on the water we have proved to the world the error of their invincibility, and shewn that with equal force and well trained officers they can be beaten by other nations as brave as themselves. their lying officers and printers will give to Europe very different views of the state of their war with us. but you will see now, as in the revolutionary war, that they will lie and conquer themselves out of all their possessions on this continent.

I pray for the happiness of your nation, and that it may be blessed with sound views & succesful measures, under the difficulties in which it is involved: and especially that they may know the value of your counsels, and to yourself I tender the assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); at foot of first page: “Don Valentin de Foronda. Coruña.” Enclosed in TJ to John Graham, 6 Jan. 1814.

forisfamiliation: the emancipation of a son from paternal authority through the gift of a piece of land (Black’s Law Dictionary description begins Bryan A. Garner and others, eds., Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th ed., 1999 description ends ).

Index Entries

  • Canada; U.S. invasion of search
  • Florida; TJ on U.S. acquisition of search
  • Foronda, Valentín de; letters to search
  • Foronda, Valentín de; on Spanish colonial policy search
  • Foronda, Valentín de; sends writings to TJ search
  • Great Britain; Orders in Council (1807) search
  • impressment; TJ on search
  • Indians; and War of1812 search
  • Indians; as British allies search
  • Indians; TJ on search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; British impressment of seamen search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; British Orders in Council search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; conquest of Canada search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; incompetent U.S. military leaders search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Indians search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; revolutions in Spanish colonies search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; self-government of Spanish colonies search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; the acquisition of Florida search
  • Kingston, Upper Canada search
  • Revolutionary War; TJ on search
  • Spain; and U.S. search
  • Spain; colonies of search
  • Spain; TJ on search
  • War of1812; and Indians search
  • War of1812; TJ on search