Thomas Jefferson Papers

Notes on a Cabinet Meeting, 17 May 1801

Notes on a Cabinet Meeting

May 17. Treaty proposed with Cherokees. agreed unanimously.

Object. 1.   to obtain the lands between Sumner & Mero district, offering as far as an annuity of 1000. D. and a sum in gross not exceeding 5000. D.

2.   if not obtainable, then buy all the accomodns on the road between the two districts at such sum in gross as the Commrs. think fit.

to treat with Chickasaws. 1. to buy their lands North of Kentuckey boundary.
2. to obtain road & houses of accomodn for travellers from Tennissee towds Natchez. but if treating for the lands is offensive to Chickasaws then confine their proposn to the road. price discretionary in Commrs

to treat with Choctaws for road. price discretionary. they use to fix on the 3. trading posts reserved in our former treaties

to treat with the Creeks. 1. for the purchase of the Talassee county.
2. for the fork of Oakmulgee & Oconey. but all instrn and further decision as to this to be postponed till we take up the

treaty with Georgia. a letter to be written to the Georgia commrs to know if they will cede the Missi territory in exchange for Talassee & Oakmulgee fork.
Davie, Wilkinson, and Hawkins

Suppress the missions to the U. Netherlds. Portugal.1 &, Prussia.

send none to Denmark


all recent to be considd. as non avenues.

Marshals & Attornies to be removed where federal, except in particular cases.

N.H. the Marshal tho’ a federalist ot not to be removd. because of his connections.

Sherburne to be atty vice Livermore

Maine. Davis to be removed as he will not resign. he is violent.2

Mass. not change the Marshall tho’ federal. he is moderate & prudent & will be republican

✓ R.I. if Barnes accepts commn of Judge, mr Lincoln will enquire & recommd Atty. or judge.

Conn. Enoch Parsons to be Marshal

Delaware. Hamilton Marshl. to be removed. enquire for substitute.

Read Atty to be contind.

Maryld. Hollingsworth not to be removd till after September. he is incapable


the Collector vice John Lee. wait for further informn

✓ Saml. Bishop. Collector at New haven

Alexr. Wolcott Collector Middletown

N.J. John Hurd to be collector of3 the port of Amboy vice Bell.


Connect. Kirby vice John Chester.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 112:19297); entirely in TJ’s hand; follows, on same sheet, Notes on a Cabinet Meeting of 16 May.

Before TJ even took office as president, the U.S. senators from Tennessee urged him to follow through with an appropriation made in May 1800 for a treaty with Indians south of the Ohio River. Abraham Baldwin and Benjamin Taliaferro of Georgia then pointed to a 1799 appropriation for new negotiations with the Creek Indians on the subject of land. TJ named William R. Davie, James Wilkinson, and Benjamin Hawkins commissioners to negotiate with the Cherokees, the Choctaws, and the Chickasaws for cessions of land to the United States and the right of way for a road. Henry Dearborn signed the commissioners’ instructions on 24 June. After hearing complaints from a Cherokee delegation in Washington, Dearborn and TJ modified the instructions with regard to that tribe, asking the commissioners to concentrate their efforts solely on obtaining permission for a road. Although the commissioners concluded treaties with the Chickasaws and the Choctaws, the Cherokees refused to negotiate even on the question of right of way. On 17 July 1801, Dearborn issued instructions for separate talks with the Creeks, but that negotiation did not take place until 1802 (ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Indian Affairs, 1:648–53, 656–63, 668–81; Joseph Anderson and William Cocke to TJ, 26 Feb., 5 Mch. 1801; Baldwin and Taliaferro to TJ, 5 Mch. 1801; Reply to a Cherokee Delegation, at 3 July below).

Mero district was an old designation by the North Carolina government for the region that included Nashville and the Cumberland River settlements (Harold D. Moser and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 6 vols. [Knoxville, 1980–], 1:13n, 17n).

Treaty with Georgia: see TJ to Abraham Baldwin, 13 July.

Suppress the missions: on 1 June Madison signed letters recalling William Vans Murray, the U.S. minister to the Batavian Republic, and William Loughton Smith, minister to Portugal. John Quincy Adams had previously received permission to step down from his post at Berlin. By way of explanation for closing the legations, Madison cited TJ’s desire to limit expenses and an intention to maintain only the most essential diplomatic ties to European nations. For the recalls, see also TJ to the Executive Directory of the Batavian Republic, 30 May (Madison, Papers, Sec. of State Ser. description begins J. C. A. Stagg, ed., The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, Charlottesville, 1986–, 8 vols. description ends , 1:124–5, 246, 255).

Bradbury Cilley was the federal Marshal for New Hampshire. TJ replaced him in the spring of 1802, when Cilley’s term expired. In July 1801, TJ named John S. Sherburne the U.S. attorney for that state in place of Edward St. Loe Livermore, who was appointed in the last days of the Adams administration but had not received his commission (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:402, 422; Vol. 33:15, 676, 679).

Daniel Davis gave up his position as the government’s attorney for the district of Maine in favor of a state judgeship, and late in July TJ appointed Silas Lee to succeed him (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:401; Vol. 33:219, 677). Mass.: John Adams had reappointed Samuel Bradford as the marshal for the district of Massachusetts in December 1800, renewing an appointment made originally by George Washington. TJ changed his mind about making enoch Parsons the marshal for Connecticut; see the note to Gideon Granger to TJ, 15 Apr. 1801. In July, TJ named Joel Lewis to replace Robert Hamilton, whose commission had expired. Zebulon Hollingsworth was first appointed attorney for the Maryland district in 1792 (JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States … to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828, 3 vols. description ends , 1:125, 216, 362; Vol. 33:671, 676).

Customs: for TJ’s strong desire to remove John Lee, his appointment of Samuel Bishop, Alexander Wolcott, and John Heard to customs positions, and his naming of Ephraim Kirby as supervisor of the revenue for Connecticut, see Vol. 33:183–4, 219–20, 330, 669–73, 675–8.

1TJ first wrote “U. Netherlds. & Portugal,” ending the sentence here.

2TJ interlined the entry for Maine.

3MS: “of of.”

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