Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Blount, 14 November 1792

To William Blount

Philadelphia Nov. 14. 1792.


Having lately received two letters from the Governor of North Carolina, copies of which I now inclose, they have been submitted to the Attorney General of the U.S. for advice as to the measures which might be legally pursued for vindicating the right of the U.S. His opinion I also inclose. In order to avoid the appearance of wishing to harrass the people, it might suffice, where the grantee is not in actual possession, to warn him against taking possession and to see that he does not.1 Where they have come to the lands, since the day named in my former letter, and remain in possession of them, it is difficult to say at this distance and with only our information, whether any and which of their cases have any equitable circumstances which should induce a permission to continue, on their giving an acknolegement that they hold subject to the future pleasure of the government of the U.S. This is submitted to your discretion, with an entire confidence that you will secure the right of the U.S. with as little trouble and injury2 to the intruders and grantees as you can.—I have been authorised to have seals made for your territory, but not having as yet received any information as to the number requisite, and the purposes, I await the application from you. I have the honour to be with great esteem & respect Sir your most obedt. humble servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Governr. Blount.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 360, DL). Enclosures: (1) Alexander Martin to TJ, 24 Aug. 1792. (2) Martin to TJ, 4 Oct. 1792. (3) Edmund Randolph to TJ, 12 Nov. 1792.

TJ wrote, probably on this day, a brief undated note to Washington submitting “the inclosed letter to Govr. Blount and the correspondence on which it is founded” (RC in DNA: RG 59, MLR, addressed “The President of the U.S.” and endorsed by Tobias Lear; Tr in Lb in same, SDC; not recorded in SJL). The President responded on 15 Nov. 1792 that the “letter enclosed, intended for Govr. Blount, appears to me to be very proper.” TJ added at the foot of text: “it was my letter of Nov. 14. 92.” (RC in DLC; addressed: “The Secretary of State”; endorsed by TJ as received the same day; recorded in SJPL).

1Preceding seven words interlined.

2Preceding two words interlined.

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