Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joshua Norvell to Thomas Jefferson, 15 January 1816

From Joshua Norvell

St Louis, Missouri Territory Jan. 15. 1816.

Dear sir,

Remotely situated from the seat of political information, relating to the interests of the govt of the U.S. the people in this Quarter at all times feel much at a loss on subjects of general concernment.

There is, however, a topic (in which considerable feeling is expressed) lately come into discussion; and about the policy or impolicy of the provisions of government concerning much contrariety of sentiment exists. I mean, the establishment and extension of factories and trading houses with the different tribes of Indians. How far it operates to the prejudice of the settlers in the countries bordering those nations—and whether or not it advances the permanent interest of the U.S.—and may not some better plan than the present be devised.

If you will obtain Leisure enough to remark upon these several subjects it will be esteemed a great favor, pledging myself that no improper use shall be made of your suggestions

This liberty is taken, on account of a proper knowledge of your disposition and kindness—and from a supreme reverence for your opinions.

With distinguished esteem,1 Yr: ob: Servt

Joshua Norvell

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 16 Feb. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Ellen W. Randolph (Coolidge), 14 Mar. 1816, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia” by “mail”; franked; postmarked Saint Louis, 15 Jan.

Joshua Norvell (1791–1821), attorney and journalist, edited the Lancaster, Kentucky, Political Theatre, 1808–09, the Kaskaskia Illinois Herald, ca. 1814, the Saint Louis Western Journal, 1815–17, and the Lexington Kentucky Gazette, 1819–20. He also practiced law in Kentucky and in Missouri Territory, where he served as a prosecuting attorney for Arkansas County, 1817–18. During the War of 1812 Norvell was a second lieutenant in an infantry regiment in the United States Army in 1812 and served in the Kentucky militia the following year. After he unsuccessfully solicited a judgeship in Arkansas Territory in 1819, he received an appointment from President James Monroe as United States consul on the island of Saint-Barthélemy in 1821. Norvell died in Havana en route to this post (Brigham, American Newspapers description begins Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 1947, 2 vols. description ends , 1:135, 161, 163, 434; Norvell to TJ, 30 Nov. 1808 [MoSHi: TJC-BC]; Heitman, U.S. Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, 1903, 2 vols. description ends , 1:753; A. C. Quisenberry, “Kentucky Troops in the War of 1812,” Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society 10 [1912]: 52, 61; David Kaser, Joseph Charless: Printer in the Western Country [1963], 100; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 15:48–9, 76, 112–3, 275, 277, 373; DNA: RG 59, LAR, 1817–25; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:236, 240 [23 Jan., 7 Feb. 1821]; Arkansas Post Arkansas Gazette, 20 Oct. 1821).

1Manuscript: “esteeem.”

Index Entries

  • Indians, American; trade with search
  • Norvell, Joshua; and trade with Indians search
  • Norvell, Joshua; identified search
  • Norvell, Joshua; letter from search