Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Arthur St. Clair, 13 September 1793

To Arthur St. Clair

Philadelphia Sep. 13. 1793.

Dear Sir

I received yesterday your favor of Aug. 9. Your having endeavored to avail the public of my agency in convening your legislature needed no apology. I did it with pleasure, as a public servant, and as one willing to serve yourself. Judge Symes however was at a distance, and Judge Turner gone from hence.1 With respect to the question to whom you should send your observations on the laws relating to your government, I can answer with more disinterestedness, as before they can come I shall be no longer in my office. All the business of the government is divided into 3. departments, to wit, of war, finance and state. To some one of the heads of these every possible matter belongs. As to whatever you have to do in your military capacity, you refer yourself to the Secretary at war. I do not know that you can ever have any thing to do in the line of finance. Every thing else falls into the department of state, to the head of which it should be addressed. To him the general report, given every six months, is referred, and if there are matters in it proper for the other departments he reports them to the President who sends the extracts to the proper department.—Whether in or out of office I shall ever be happy to render you any service I can, being with sincere respect Dear Sir Your most obedt. servt

Th: Jefferson

PrC (DLC); at foot of text: “Govr. Sinclair.” FC (Lb in DNA: RG 59, DL).

A letter from St. Clair of 1 Nov. 1793, recorded in SJL as received from Cincinnati on 18 Dec. 1793, has not been found, but the journal of the President, to whom TJ sent it on 18 Dec. and who returned it the same day, describes it as a letter of 7 Nov. 1793 relating “to an Expedition said to be in contemplation against the Spanish on the Mississipi. Genl. Clarke, who is to command it has received, thro’ Mr. Genet, a Commission under the Govt. of France. Extract of a letter of Dr. O’Fallon’s relative to the same—thinks it will take with the people of Kentucky &c.” (Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 269). The extract from James O’Fallon’s letter has not been found, though the letter itself has been identified elsewhere as one from O’Fallon to Captain Francis Herron, Louisville, 18 Oct. 1793 (same, 270n; see also John C. Parish, “The Intrigues of Doctor James O’Fallon,” MVHR description begins Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1914–64 description ends , xvii [1930], 258–9n). For the failure of this enterprise, see Editorial Note on Jefferson and André Michaux’s proposed western expedition, at 22 Jan. 1793; see also note to TJ to Isaac Shelby, 28 June 1793.

1Preceding sentence interlined.

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