Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Harry Innes, 28 December 1793

From Harry Innes

Kentucky Woodford County Decr. 28th 1793

Dr Sir

Your polite and freindly Letter of the 23d. of May did not reach me till sometime in August. Be pleased to accept of my thanks for the freindly part you manifested respecting my Slaves who were captured by the Indians; there was a probability of recovering them; I had no hopes thro’ that channel, neither am I disappointed by the Indians refusing to Treat with our Commissioners.

The campaign is ended with the expenditure of about 1.000000 of Dollars and no point gained. There must be1 some great defect in the War department, and, from every information I incline to think the Commander in Chief is certainly in fault. He appears to be a man of very moderate abilities, vain, capricious, jealous in the extreme and a Dupe to a few who flatter him, particularly the Quarter Master General, who I am informed said over a Glass of Wine (as he passed thro’ Kentucky) that he had no idea of Œconomising with the public monies; thus sir between the Comr. in Chief and the Q. M. G. the war will be prolonged, our innocent Citizens butchered and the public monies squandered.

The War at present is a source by which the extra provisions raised in this state are consumed, but the inhabitants view that market as of momentary duration and begin to be restless at the delay of the Treaty with Spain relative to the Navigation of the Mississippi; to give you an idea of this subject I now inclose you an address to the Inhabitants of the Western waters, by the Democratic society in this state, which is composed of very respectable characters, this together with a spirited Remonstrance will soon be circulated in this state the western parts of Pensylvania and Virginia; I will inclose you a Copy of the Remonstrance by the next Post, it being now in the Press. To attain this most desirable object I can with certainty assure you that Foreign aid is now offered.

We are extremely anxious relative to the deliberations of the present Congress. Most of the Inhabitants of this state are true Republicans and we begin to fear the truth of the observation of a great Patriot in Virginia “that th[is?] Government has an awful squinting at Monarchy.” I respect the President but cannot approve of his mode in removing Consul Duplaine. A power by Implication is a dreadful instrument in the hands of the Executive. I fear I trespass on your patience therefore conclude with every sentiment of respect Dr sir your mo. ob. servt.

Harry Innes

RC (DLC); slightly torn; at foot of text: “The Honble Thos. Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 31 Mch. 1794 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Democratic Society of Kentucky, To the Inhabitants of the United States West of the Allegany and Apalachian Mountains [Lexington, 1793], a broadside of an address dated 13 Dec. 1793, asserting that Americans are entitled both by natural right and by the Treaty of Paris to the free navigation of the Mississippi and that both before and after the Constitution took effect the general government failed to assert this right adequately due to negligence and the fear by eastern states that freer navigation in the west would lead many of their most industrious citizens to migrate there; urging all westerners to join in a remonstrance demanding action from the President and Congress at this critical juncture, when Spain’s energies are diverted by its war with France; and proposing that corresponding societies be formed in convenient districts throughout the western country to exchange information and concert action “upon this and every other subject of general concern” (Evans, description begins Charles Evans, Clifford K. Shipton, and Roger P. Bristol, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of all Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America from … 1639 … to … 1820, Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–59, 14 vols. description ends No. 46730).

Commander in Chief: Major General Anthony Wayne. quarter master general: James O’Hara. For the spirited remonstrance, see enclosure to Innes to TJ, 21 Jan. 1794. The foreign aid being offered to help open the Mississippi to American navigation was the abortive effort by French minister Edmond Charles Genet to engage George Rogers Clark to recruit an army of Kentucky volunteers to help liberate Louisiana from Spanish rule (Editorial Note on Jefferson and André Michaux’s proposed western expedition, at 22 Jan. 1793; note to TJ to Isaac Shelby, 28 June 1793; Innes to TJ, 21 Jan. 1794). The great patriot in Virginia was Patrick Henry, who asserted in a 5 June 1788 speech at the Virginia Ratification Convention that the proposed Federal Constitution had “an awful squinting; it squints towards monarchy” (DHRC description begins Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, eds., The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Madison, Wis., 1976–, 10 vols. description ends , ix, 963).

1Preceding two words interlined in place of “is certainly.”

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