Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Josef de Jaudenes and Josef Ignacio de Viar, 12 May 1793

From Josef de Jaudenes and Josef Ignacio de Viar

Philadelphia 12. de Mayo de 1793.

Mui Señor nuestro

Las mismas miras que tubimos en pasar à manos de V.S. Copia del tratado concluido entre España, y la Nacion Creeke el año de 1784, nos inducen ahora à remitir à V.S. adjunta otra Copia del que se concluyò el año proximo pasado por nuestro Governador de Natches con las Naciones Chactaws, y Chicachas, y nos lisonjeamos que enterado el Presidente de los Estados Unidos de sus contenidos, se valdrà de los medios mas oportunos, y que puedan contribuir à evitar el que los Estados Unidos entren en Convenios con los precitados Indios que sean opuestos à los que tienen estipulados con nosotros, rectificando al mismo tiempo los de esta naturaleza concluidos anteriormente por el Govierno de V.S. Nos repetimos à la disposicion de V.S. con la mas fina voluntad, y respeto, quedando, Señor Los mas obedtes. y humdes. servs. Q.B.L.M. de V.S.

josef de jaudenes josef ignacio de viar

editors’ translation

Philadelphia 12 May 1793

Our very dear Sir

The same purpose we had in transmitting to your hands a copy of the treaty concluded between Spain and the Creek Nation in 1784 induces us now to send you enclosed another copy of the treaty concluded last year by our Governor of Natchez with the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaws, and we flatter ourselves with the belief that the President of the United States, once informed of its contents, will avail himself of the most appropriate means conducive to keeping the United States from entering into accords with the aforementioned Indians that may conflict with those they have reached with us as well as at the same time revising such accords previously reached by your government. Again we place ourselves at your disposition with all good will and respect, remaining, Sir, your most obedient and humble servants. Respectfully yours,

josef de jaudenes josef ignacio de viar

RC (DNA: RG 59, NL); in Jaudenes’s hand, signed by Jaudenes and Viar; at foot of text: “Sor. Dn. Thomas Jefferson &ca.”; endorsed by TJ as received 14 May 1793 and so recorded in SJL. Tr (AHN: Papeles de Estado, legajo 3895); attested by Jaudenes and Viar. Enclosure: Treaty of Natchez between Spain and the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians, 14 May 1792 (Tr in DNA: RG 59, NL, in Spanish, attested by Jaudenes and Viar; Tr in same, English translation in TJ’s hand, misdated 14 May 1790; Tr in same, English translation in a clerk’s hand, misdated 14 May 1790; Tr in DNA: RG 46, Senate Records, 3d Cong., 1st sess., English translation in a clerk’s hand, misdated 14 May 1790; English translation misdated 14 May 1790 printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., Gales & Seaton, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Foreign Relations, i, 280; correctly dated Spanish text printed in Manuel Serrano y Sanz, ed., Documentos Históricos de La Florida y La Luisiana Siglos XVI al XVIII [Madrid, 1912], 436–9).

The Treaty of Natchez was an outgrowth of Spain’s policy of fortifying strategic points on the Mississippi to serve as barriers against American westward expansion. In accordance with this strategy, Manuel Gayoso de Lemos, governor of the Natchez District, began construction in 1791 of Fort Nogales on the site of what is now Vicksburg, so as to frustrate the settlement plans of the Yazoo Company of South Carolina. Not only was this fort located about a hundred miles north of the southern boundary claimed by the United States, but it initially aroused opposition among the Choctaws, who opposed the building of a Spanish post near their hunting grounds. However, under the terms of the enclosed treaty negotiated by Governor Gayoso, the Chickasaws and Choctaws pledged friendship with Spain and ceded to her the land on which Fort Nogales was situated in return for gifts worth about $2,000 (Jack D. L. Holmes, Gayoso: The Life of a Spanish Governor in the Mississippi Valley, 1789–1799 [Baton Rouge, 1965], 137–8, 145–50).

TJ submitted the above letter and enclosures, as well as the fourth letter of this date from Viar and Jaudenes with its enclosures, to the President on 18 May 1793 and formally replied to the Spanish agents three days later, the day after the President returned the documents (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 143, 144; TJ to Viar and Jaudenes, 21 May 1793).

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