Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on a Cabinet Meeting, 22 October 1806

22 Oct. 1806

Oct. 22. present the 4. heads of departmt. the Spaniards have moved to Bayou Pierre a body of 1000. or 1200. men, mostly militia, mounted, and 300. regulars are expected to join them. our regular force in Missipi & Orleans territories is 631. men at Natchitoches & ordered there from Fort Adams, 216. at N. Orleans, 240 new recruits arrived or arriving at Orleans, making in all 1081. besides 130. at Tombigby. 2. gunboats are at N. Orleans (from Ohio) 6. more daily expected from the same quarter, 2 others & 2 bomb vessels from Boston are arriving there about this time, & Genl. Wilkinson asks 500 mounted men to secure his operations if forced to act hostilely. the acting Govr. of Missipi offers 250. volunteers for service on the West side of the Misipi, & 500 if employed on the East side. the Govr. of Orleans counts on 500. militia from the Western counties of his territories. Agreed unanimously to require from those two territories 500. volunteers mounted on their own horses, engaged to serve 6. months, & to be in readiness when called for by the Commandg. officer of the regulars. this under the law of the last session for calling out a detachment of militia. and further that the marines at N.O. shall do garrison duty there, so that the 210. men at that place may be moved up to Natchitoches. the gunboats to be under the orders of the Commanding officer.

During the last session of Congress, Colo. Burr who was here, finding no hope of being employed in any department of the govmt. opened himself confidentially to some persons on whom he thought he could rely, on a scheme of separating the Western from the Atlantic states, & creating the former into an independant confederacy. he had before made a tour of those states, which had excited suspicions, as every motion does of such a Catilinarian character. of his having made this proposition here we have information from Genl Eaton, thro’ mr Ely & mr Granger. he went off this spring to the Western country. of his movements on his way information has come to the Secretary of state & myself from John Nicholson and mr Williams of the state of N.Y. respecting a mr Tyler, Colo. Morgan, Nevill & Roberts near Pittsbg. and to other citizens thro’ other channels & the newspapers. we are of opinion unanimously that confidential letters be written to the governors of Ohio, Indiana, Missisipi & Orleans, to the district attorney of Kentucky,   of Tennissee,   of Louisiana to have him strictly watched, and on his committing any overt act unequivocally, to have him arrested & tried for treason, misdemeanor, or whatever other offence the act may amount to; and in like manner to arrest & try any of his followers committing acts against the laws. we think it proper also to order some of the gunboats up to Fort Adams to stop by force any passage of suspicious persons going down in force.

Genl. Wilkerson being expressly declared by Burr to Eaton to be engaged with him on this design as his Lieutenant or first in command, and suspicions of infedility in Wilkerson being now become very general, a question is proposed what is proper to be done as to him on this account as well as for his disobedience of orders recieved by him June 11. at St. Louis, to descend with all practicable dispatch to N.O. to mark out the site of certain defensive works there, & then repair to take command at Natchitoches, on which business he did not leave St. Louis till Sep.   consideration adjourned.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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